Broadband costs rank among worst in world

Matt Coughlan
(Australian Associated Press)


Australia has the least affordable entry-level access to broadband among developed economies, ranking 67 out of a wider list of 83 countries.

Labor asked the federal Parliamentary Library to compile second quarter 2019 data from UK-based broadband market analytics firm Point Topic.

Australia was last out of 36 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development members on entry-level fixed-broadband affordability.

Among the full list of 83 countries, Australia was 67th for entry-level broadband tariffs with countries like Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Colombia worse.

Point Topic’s website points out the figures are one set of metrics measuring a single aspect of broadband markets, warning against drawing conclusions in isolation.

Labor’s communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland said it was a concerning development after scathing assessments from the consumer watchdog and Infrastructure Australia about entry-level pricing.

“Given the concerns of the ACCC, consumer groups, and this recent Point Topic data, ensuring entry-level broadband prices are affordable should be a priority,” she told AAP on Wednesday.

“It’s time the government stopped playing the role of a disingenuous bystander that is conveniently uninterested in the problems they have created, and instead demonstrated some leadership in addressing these challenges.”

In August, an Infrastructure Australia audit found the technology mix for the national broadband network would deliver varied outcomes for users and may result in higher costs or lower-quality services.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has also raised concerns about the rise in the cost of accessing the NBN.

NBN Co recently commissioned Alpha Beta for a comprehensive study of broadband affordability which compared broadband prices to household income.

It found Australians enjoy the seventh-most affordable broadband services when compared to 22 countries.

“It’s also important to note that NBN’s wholesale broadband prices have not increased, not even by CPI, since our wholesale pricing was set around eight years ago,” an NBN Co spokesman told AAP.

He said Alpha Beta’s research found since 2000, Australia’s cost of living rose 63 per cent while telecommunications prices fell six per cent.


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