Telstra has offered to refund around 42,000 of its customers who experienced slow speeds while connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN).
The telco will offer remedies to people after admitting it may have breached consumer law by promising NBN speeds it could not deliver to customers who purchased internet services through both Telstra and Belong brands between September 2015 and November this year.
“All businesses have a responsibility to ensure that claims about the performance of their products or services are accurate,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims said.
Telstra said in its NBN advertising it could provide customers with download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps), as well as upload speeds of 40Mbps.
However, many of Telstra’s fibre to the node and fibre to the building customers were not capable of receiving the maximum speeds of a lower-speed plan.
“Our investigation revealed many of Telstra’s FTTN and FTTB customers could not receive the maximum speed of their plan,” Mr Sims said.
“People were paying more to get higher speeds that they just weren’t able to get.”
“Even worse, many of these customers could not receive the maximum speed of a lower speed plan.”
Customers will be offered a range of remedies including refunds, the option to change speed plans, as well as exiting contracts without paying a fee.
Telstra has notified the ACCC of issues relating to some of the affected customers.
“We are pleased that Telstra proactively reported this serious problem to the ACCC and has cooperated in creating a remediation plan for affected customers,” Mr Sims said.
However, he said the problem was not limited to just Telstra.
“We are mindful this not just a Telstra problem; it is an industry problem where consumers are often not getting the speeds they are paying for,” he said.
“We will continue to investigate other retail service providers selling broadband plans over the NBN and take enforcement action where appropriate.”