In November the Commission advised it had issued guidelines to improve broadband marketing conduct. The Commission conveyed its expectation that broadband providers should immediately apply the guidelines to their marketing practices, to protect consumers during the busy Christmas period. The Commission also directed the industry to convert the guidelines into a binding industry code through the TCF.
“We’ve been encouraged by the positive response from the industry to the challenge of cleaning-up broadband marketing. Providers have changed their marketing practices and the codes that have been issued should “lock in” the improvements that have been made for consumers,” said Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson.
Gilbertson said that there are three key benefits for consumers resulting from the Commission’s action:
- Getting sufficient notice of any change to their copper service, so they’re not rushed into making decisions about a replacement service, and getting information about the full range of alternative services available to them.
- Speed indications in advertising that must be based on independent testing under the Measuring Broadband New Zealand programme (rather than “up to” or theoretical maximum speeds).
- The right to walk away from their broadband plan or provider, without penalty, when a service materially fails to deliver what was advertised.
“These are interlocking measures designed to ensure consumers get the information they need to make informed choices about the best broadband service for them, backed-up by an “exit right” if the service doesn’t live up to expectations.”
Gilbertson said the Commission will be watching this area closely as part of its ongoing market monitoring work.
“We want to make sure the changes providers have made are embedded in their marketing practices. We expect providers to keep us informed on how they are implementing the codes, as well as on how they are making their customers aware of their rights under the codes,” he concluded.