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Slow internet speed

This guidance note tells you…

This guidance note tells you what remedies are available when your internet service is slower than expected, and your provider cannot fix the problems.

It does not deal with speed problems caused by your internal wiring or wi-fi coverage in your home or business. These are your responsibility to fix.

The problem

Providers are required to offer internet plans based on the speed they know is achievable. Many things (including things outside the control of the provider) can affect the speed of an internet service. These include:

  • The type of internet infrastructure eg fibre, mix of fibre and copper, copper only, HFC cable, fixed wireless, or satellite
  • The age and quality of internet infrastructure
  • How close your premises are to internet infrastructure
  • How many people are using the provider’s network at the same time
  • Issues inside your premises, such as internal wiring

It is possible that a provider may not be able to fix a speed problem in a reasonable time, if at all. This can mean you are paying for something the provider cannot supply.

Remedies

If you are not receiving the speed you are contracted for, your provider should offer you a billing reduction while it tries to fix the problem. The amount of the reduction will depend on the individual circumstances of your speed problem.

If your provider can’t fix a speed problem in a reasonable time, you need to decide whether you want to stay with the provider or go to another one.

Your provider should let you leave your contract (including any bundled products or services) at no cost or move to a different speed plan if you would prefer this.

If you decide to stay with your provider on a plan that you know won’t deliver the speeds you want, the provider does not have to continue to give you a discount or refund.

These remedies are in line with undertakings made to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. In late 2017 and early 2018, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission accepted court-enforceable undertakings from eight internet service providers that admitted they likely misled consumers about broadband speeds and offered to compensate affected consumers.

Principle 6 of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Broadband Speed Claims says the Australian Consumer Law applies to the supply of broadband services to consumers. Businesses that supply broadband services to consumers guarantee that those services will be:

  • provided with due care and skill
  • fit for any specified or particular purpose (express or implied), including being of sufficient quality to achieve desired results, and
  • provided within a reasonable time (when no time is set).

More information

The Australian Consumer Law

Guidance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: