The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken internet service providers Dodo and iPrimus to court for allegedly making false or misleading claims about NBN broadband speeds.
The telcos, both owned by Vocus Group, allegedly made the claims between March 2018 and April 2019.
The ACCC said the advertised speeds were what customers could achieve during busy evening hours, which the agency claims are not true.
ACCC chair Rod Sims said, “We believe many of Dodo and iPrimus’ NBN customers would have been unable to regularly receive the advertised speeds during the busy evening period of between 7pm–11pm.”
“The ACCC will argue that Dodo and iPrimus used a fundamentally flawed testing methodology, developed by Vocus, which was not a reasonable basis for their advertising claims about certain typical evening speeds.”
Sims said Vocus’ testing methodology determined the “typical evening speed” claims by using only the daily 75 fastest speeds observed across Vocus’ entire network in the busy period, and excluding slower speeds that were likely impacted by network congestion.
“Consumers need reliable broadband speed information in order to decide which provider to get an NBN service from,” Sims said.
“How broadband speeds hold up during busy evening periods is a critical issue for many consumers, and all service providers must have a reasonable basis for the broadband speed claims that they make.”
The ACCC cited its Measuring Broadband Australia program in making its claims, where it found that both Dodo and iPrimus’ NBN speeds consistently performed towards the lower end of the nine providers measured and reported on.
The agency is seeking declarations, penalties and costs.
Updated 3:14pm 23 June: Vocus has issued a response to the ACCC's Federal Court proceedings:
"We’re disappointed that the ACCC has decided to issue proceedings related to activities that occurred between March 2018 and April 2019," a Vocus spokesperson told CRN.
"Dodo and iPrimus have been engaged in discussions with the ACCC over an extended period and have cooperated fully throughout the entire investigation.
"We are reviewing the ACCC’s claims and will not be providing further comment as the matter is before the courts."