A drive to recruit volunteers for a new broadband performance monitoring programme has been launched by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Under the project – which will cost around AUD7 million (USD5.3 million) to deliver – the regulator has said it is aiming to install hardware-based devices in around 4,000 households over four years, with around 2,000 volunteers expected to be selected in the first year. According to the ACCC, these devices will perform remote testing to determine typical speeds on fixed line broadband services offered via the National Broadband Network (NBN) at various times throughout the day.
The regulator published a request for tender for an independent testing provider for the programme last month, and has now said it hopes to finalise the volunteer panel in September 2017, with a view to commencing testing and providing the first performance reports by the end of the year. In terms of those selected to take part, the ACCC has said the panel will comprise customers from a variety of ISPs over a range of broadband technologies and different retail speeds and plans. While the majority of the testing will be on NBN-based services, there will be some testing of ‘other next generation services and also some ADSL’ in the early part of the programme.