Consumers are being asked to spend more money on mobile broadband because of the rise in broadband speed and data caps, but consumers aren’t really being asked for that money, the consumer advocacy group Consumer Protection says.
“Data caps are simply not the way to go,” consumer advocacy organisation Consumer Protection said.
“We need to put the consumer in control of their data usage.”
The organisation said it was “appalled” by reports suggesting data caps would be introduced in Australia, with some mobile networks already in the process of implementing such restrictions.
But the group said it believed it was the right thing to do and the time was right for Australia to adopt the consumer-focused approach that has helped make broadband more affordable.
It said that, as it was a voluntary approach, it was likely it would be reintroduced to Australia once the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and other regulators agreed with the consumer.
“This is about making the internet work better for Australians, and making sure the best internet is available to Australians regardless of where they live,” Consumer Protection president John O’Brien said.
He said the government needed to do more to ensure people got a fair deal from their mobile network provider.
“The best way to deliver the right deal for Australians is to have a free market, and it should be the market that Australians choose to use,” Mr O’Briens said.
The ABC has approached the Communications Minister for comment.
“There are lots of things that can be done,” Industry Minister Mitch Fifield said.
But he said the changes would only be rolled out to existing mobile customers.
“When the rules were last in place, it made a lot of sense because you had a choice about where you go and what you do,” he said.
NBN Co says it is ‘truly proud’ of Australia’s wireless broadband rollout “We’re truly proud of the work we’ve done to deliver high-speed broadband across the country, and that’s been a critical factor in delivering the best mobile experience to Australians,” NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley said.
Mr Quigleys comments echoed those made by NBN Co’s CEO Mike Nahan.
“It’s great to see the Government of Australia recognising the value of broadband in the digital era,” Mr Nahan said.
A spokeswoman for the ACCC said it is currently reviewing its data caps policy.
“In the meantime, we’re monitoring the issue and are in contact with NBN Co,” she said.
Industry experts believe it would have been better to set a data cap instead of imposing one and have customers pay a fixed monthly fee to access their data.
“That way, they’re not paying a fixed fee, they can use the data in whatever way they like,” consumer lawyer Ian O’Shea said.
What’s in a name?
The name of the organisation that produced the study is Consumer Protection.
It’s a consumer advocacy body set up in 2002 to advocate for consumers in Australia.
It is now a voluntary organisation.