Wednesday, 08 November 2017 13:32

Telstra agrees to refund 42,000 customers over NBN speed claims Featured


Telstra has been forced to compensate up to 42,000 users of its NBN Internet services after the ACCC censured the carrier for failing to deliver the promised speeds that were advertised.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said today that the telco, Australia's largest, had promoted and offered speed plans which were not achievable in real-world conditions.

The plans were offered between September 2015 and November this year, through both Telstra and Belong brands.

The ACCC said this included a "Super Fast Speed Boost" which claimed speeds of 100Mbps down and 40Mbps up.

But, it said, limitations on customers' connections, both fibre-to-the-node and fibre-to-the-basement, meant that these speeds were not attainable.

“Our investigation revealed many of Telstra’s FttN and FttB customers could not receive the maximum speed of their plan. Even worse, many of these customers could not receive the maximum speed of a lower-speed plan,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

“In essence, people were paying more to get higher speeds that they just weren’t able to get.”

He said that Telstra acknowledged this conduct would have contravened Australian Consumer Law, "by engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct and making false or misleading representations".

Sims added: "All businesses have a responsibility to ensure that claims about the performance of their products or services are accurate.

"This is particularly important in cases where consumers sign long-term contracts to acquire a service. Telecommunications contracts are typically 12-24 months in duration and this can represent a serious financial commitment.”

Commenting on Telstra's move, Labor's Communications Spokesperson Michelle Rowland said the party welcomed the initiative to compensate the 42,000 consumers.

“It’s a tragedy that (Prime Minister Malcolm) Turnbull is spending $50 billion on a second-rate NBN that cannot even deliver the speeds that consumers are willing to pay for," she said in a statement.

“These developments make a mockery of Turnbull’s judgement on engineering and economics. 

“Labor will continue to fight for better disclosure of maximum attainable speeds to ensure consumers on the NBN get a fair deal.”

Labor's Spokesperson for Regional Communications Stephen Jones said it was a tragedy that "Turnbull was spending $50 billion of taxpayers’ money on a second-rate network that is denying consumers the speeds they are willing to pay for".

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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