Tech News and Opinions (by Paul Spain)

Code announced for disclosure of broadband plan information

, posted: 9-May-2013 16:10

With the availability of Ultra-Fast Broadband services increasing the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) says it's important consumers are able to compare the differing plans and options from each Internet provider.

While UFB.org.nz (and previously the NZ Tech Podcast) were the first in the industry to deliver this in some form with a summary of offerings across all providers (see UFB plans), it's great to see the industry upping the ante and committing to developing clear guidelines for retail service providers. Draft guidelines suggest Internet providers will show average upload and download speeds in addition to current maximum figures shown today.

David Stone, CEO of the TCF, stated "As an industry, we're keen to make life as easy as possible for our customers. Our goal is for the standard format for broadband plan information to be as simple to follow as the details you see in a car window on a dealer's lot. You can see if we have achieved this goal by looking at the proposed format in the draft Code and sending us your feedback."

Initial suggestions are contained in the TCF's Draft Broadband Product Disclosure Code which is now open for public consultation.

As well as setting the minimum standards for consumer information in what the TCF has termed an Offer Summary, the Code also details:

  • How and where retail service providers will need to highlight Offer Summaries as part of their sales processes
  • A proposal for a new independent speed measurement scheme, including details of how average speed will be reported in the Offer Summary and in advertising
  • Other information that must be made available to consumers about issues and factors that may impact the customer's broadband speed and/or service

It has been announced, that once finalised and approved by the TCF, the Broadband Product Disclosure Code will require all code signatories to provide information about fixed line broadband plans in a comparable and consistent format. This information will be readily accessible to consumers.

The other significant point in the TCF's announcement is that the scope of the Code will be widened to cover mobile and wireless broadband plans in the future.

Download the draft guidelines here.



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