Broadband Befuddlement - Aussies Over-Spending by $141 million

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Australian broadband internet consumers are over-spending on their connections by $141 million, research from the iSelect Broadband Report reveals.

Australians aren’t researching their choice of broadband plans properly.

Research released today reveals Australia is in the midst of an internet explosion, yet broadband consumers are over-spending on their connections by $141 million through a lack of understanding of what they really need.

Over 7.5 million Australian households subscribe to broadband internet, a jump of almost a million in 12 months. In their enthusiasm to do more online however, Australians are failing to review and update their plans to meet their changing needs.

The iSelect Broadband Report shows broadband is booming in Australia - Australians are on average downloading more than 48 gigabytes of data per household per month (the equivalent of approximately 20 movies and 2000 songs), or a massive 368 million nationally per month.

More than half of Australians across all age groups rate the internet as the single most important piece of technology in their home, ahead of television.. Entire families are now online, with three or more people accessing the internet in almost half of Australian households (48 per cent). Yet over half (59 per cent) of those surveyed admitted they did little or no research into different broadband services before choosing a broadband package.

The Report shows Australians are confused about what they are paying for, despite rating themselves highly on their ‘internet intelligence’, with 83 per cent reporting they have a good or very good understanding of the internet at home. Those who go over their monthly data allowance are spending on average almost $200 a year extra for the privilege.

According to technology expert and blogger, Charlie Brown, the Report highlights how active Australians of all ages are online.

“More Australians than ever before are connecting with each other via the internet. This research found that two thirds of Australians now rely on the internet to keep in touch with their relatives and friends, and social media is growing at a rapid pace, even amongst older internet users.”

“However, in contrast with the heightened status of broadband internet in the home, Australians aren’t researching their choice of plans properly. There is a lack of understanding of the more technical details such as connection speeds and how much data they actually need, leading to consumers signing up to plans that don’t fulfil their needs,” he said.

A quarter of Australians don’t know how much data they download each month, and consistent with this, a third never check how much of their download limit they have used.
Less than a quarter (24 per cent) understand how the speed of their broadband connection is measured (megabits per second), yet 86 per cent say speed is very or extremely important to them.

“Australians need to do their homework on broadband before signing up to a new contract. It doesn’t need to be time consuming or difficult - if you use an online comparison service, you can evaluate plans based on your actual needs to find the best one for you,” said Charlie.

Not surprisingly, most people (66 per cent) say that reliability and maintaining connection are the most important features of a home internet service. However, amount of data downloads is further down the list of priorities (36per cent) even though it is more closely related to actual cost, and is the basis on which most internet services are promoted.

Matthew Cuming, Corporate Affairs Manager at iSelect, said the Report demonstrates the significant role broadband internet now plays in the lives of most Australians.

“Almost three quarters of those surveyed reported feeling frustrated, angry or powerless when they go over their monthly data limit for broadband. Just under two thirds (59 per cent) reported spending less time online as a result.

“This is all avoidable if Australians become as active in shopping around online for the right plan, as they are when it comes to using Facebook, email and downloading music and movies,” said Matthew.

iSelect is Australia’s leading provider of online comparison for a range of household products and services, including health, life and car insurance, home loans and now broadband internet. iSelect was founded on the principle of removing the confusion and complexity from the process of buying everyday necessities.

Issued on behalf of iSelect by Cube.

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