Monday, 11 December 2017 11:10

Optus to compensate 8700 NBN customers for slow speeds Featured

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Optus has become the second telco to offer compensation to its customers on certain NBN plans, with about 8700 users to be offered "remedies" for being misled about the maximum speeds they could achieve.

Telstra came to an agreement with the ACCC last month over the same issue.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in a statement that between 1 September 2015 and 30 June this year, Optus offered plans, including a "Boost Max" which advertised maximum download speeds of up to 100Mbps and maximum upload speeds of up to 40Mbps.

However, these speeds were not attainable due to technical constraints on the fibre-to-the-node or fibre-to-the-building plans that the customers had.

“Optus is the second major Internet provider we have taken action against for selling broadband speeds they could not deliver to their customers,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

“Worryingly, many affected Optus FttN customers could not even receive the maximum speed of a lower-tier plan. This is a concerning trend we have seen throughout the industry and we are working to fix this.”

Among those affected were:

  • 5430 (48%) Optus FttN consumers on a 100/40 Mbps plan could not receive 100/40 Mbps, and 2337 (21%) of those consumers could not receive 50/20 Mbps;
  • 1519 (26%) Optus FttN consumers on a 50/20 Mbps plan could not receive 50/20 Mbps; and
  • 1381 (3%) Optus FttN consumers on a 25/5 Mbps plan could not receive 25/5 Mbps.

The ACCC said that Optus had provided a court-enforceable undertaking, specifying the remedies it would provide.

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“Affected customers should carefully consider the remedies Optus is offering them to assess which best suits their needs. In some cases, consumers may consider it preferable to simply exit their contract with a refund rather than accept a service that does not meet their needs,” Sims said.

The undertaking requires Optus to check within four weeks of connecting a customer that they are getting the advertised speeds. If not, then the telco has to inform the customer and offer remedies.

“This undertaking is yet another step towards an industry standard of providing accurate information to consumers about the speeds they can achieve in real-world conditions, and ensuring that consumers get what they pay for,” Sims said.

“We are continuing to investigate other retail service providers selling NBN broadband plans, and will take enforcement action if we consider that they are not delivering on their promises to customers.”

The ACCC said consumers who purchased an internet-only plan would be offered the option of:

  • remaining on their current plan with no refund;
  • moving to any lower speed plan of their choice and receiving a refund; or
  • exiting their contract without cost and with a refund.

Consumers who purchased NBN as part of a bundle would have the option of:

  • remaining on their current plan with no refund;
  • moving to the base speed for their bundle with a refund and, where applicable, a discount for the remainder of their contract; or
  • exiting their contract (including the bundle) without cost and with a refund.

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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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