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Slow NBN? The ACCC wants volunteers to test broadband speeds

Australia's consumer watchdog wants to know just how blazing fast (or cripplingly slow) Australia's NBN speeds are, and they want you to provide the data.

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If your broadband speeds are garbage, now you finally have a chance to tell someone about it (aside from your weary mates).

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is calling for volunteers to participate in an Australia-wide broadband speed testing program. The ACCC will install hardware in roughly 4,000 houses across Australia as part of the program (2,000 within the first year) to test fixed-line NBN speeds at various times of the day. 

It's all part of a bid to bring more transparency to the broadband market and accurate information about the real NBN speeds Australians actually get on a day-to-day basis.

"Australians spend over 4 billion dollars per year on fixed broadband services and currently many consumers are left angry, frustrated, and dissatisfied by services that don't deliver the peak speeds that are promised," said ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard.

"The volunteers will be helping to produce accurate, transparent, and comparable information about the quality and reliability of the fixed-line broadband services available in their area. This will lead to more competition and better value for money for broadband services."

The call for speed testing is timely. In the latest Akamai State of the Internet Report (PDF), Australia ranked 50th in the world for average internet connection speeds at 11.1 Mbps (first-ranked South Korea has averages of 28.6 Mbps). 

And a bit of transparency and extra information wouldn't go astray either. While the National Broadband Network has now officially passed 5 million premises ready for service across Australia, research shows 74 percent of Australians yet to connect to the NBN feel they don't know enough to transition to the technology. There's still confusion between NBN, internet service providers, the government and customers -- we don't even have a totally accurate idea of how many individual complaints about the NBN are made.

The ACCC wants to change this, by getting real-world data on the actual speeds people experience on the network.

Fancy telling everyone about your blazing fast speeds or your nightly Netflix buffering? You can sign up to take part in the program until the end of July. 

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