Australian modem maker says broadband providers should stop advertising peak speeds.

Telcos should stop using peak speeds to advertise broadband and instead focus on the kind of online services it enables.

Advertising based on peak speeds risks establishing unreasonable performance expectations in end users, and traps telcos in a cycle of chasing the next capacity upgrade and trying to drive demand for it.

"We’re on a hamster wheel," said Steve Collins, CTO of Australian modem maker Netcomm Wireless, at Total Telecom’s Gigabit Access event in Brussels on Wednesday.

In February, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) concluded that consumers have limited information when it comes to identifying and comparing broadband services that meet their requirements.

It drew up six guidelines for ISPs to follow, including one that recommends consumers are told the speed they should expect when the network is busy.

"Wholesale network speeds or theoretical speeds taken from technical specifications should not be advertised without reference to typical busy period speeds," the ACCC said.

Instead, Collins said on Wednesday that telcos should focus more on differentiating their broadband offerings more specifically on the kind of services – voice, TV, and so forth – it enables, and not just on speed, price, and customer service.

"Users want something that just works, they don’t care about the actual speed," he claimed.