As a regular reader of the PC & Tech Authority web site you may be familiar with terms like DSL, naked DSL, ADSL2+, broadband and so on. But for the uninitiated, it’s a minefield of confusing terms that don’t mean very much, according to many industry groups.
Now a recent poll from the online comparison site Compare Broadband has put a number on it and thinks that the majority of Australians are confused by broadband terms. While it only polled some 549 people, 91% of those agreed that broadband providers use too much jargon.
"Australians are obviously confused about how broadband internet is being marketed to them and this means many consumers could be overpaying for their broadband,” said Compare Broadband spokesperson Jesse Somer in a statement.
It's not the first time that providers have been accused of muddying the waters. Consumer groups and even the industry regulator agree that people have a hard time discerning the true differences between plans offered by the different providers and may not always choose the most suitable internet plan for their needs.
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has previously complained to the industry regulator about telco advertising it believes is misleading, deceptive or unfair. It said at the time that the industry trades on a ‘confusopoly’ that banks on the fact no reasonable consumer can compare different mobile or internet plans because they simply can’t make sense of them.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is going after service providers it believes are peddling adverting with misleading claims. Dodo, TPG and Optus have all run into trouble with the regulator. So while there’s clearly no shortage of comparison sites offering details about plans such as download limit, speed and costs, it seems that making sense of the details is the real challenge.
"The only small message of comfort is this: if your service ends up being so slow compared to what was offered that you can’t use it in the way you wanted and expected to, and if the ISP can’t do anything to fix it, they should let you out of the contract without charging you any penalty," said Elissa Freeman, ACCAN Director of Policy & Campaigns.