Optus, TPG to refund $6.5 million for underdelivered NBN speeds

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Optus, TPG to refund $6.5 million for underdelivered NBN speeds

Optus and TPG have issued refunds of some $4.4 million and $2.1 million, respectively, for not informing some of its customers that the advertised NBN speeds were not attainable.

In an announcement by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), Optus self-reported in July 2021 that it had failed to inform some 34,000 customers over a two-year period that the advertised speeds of their NBN plans were not attainable on the NBN infrastructure available to them.

TPG also self-reported in October 2021, saying that some 4,400 customers were not notified.

ACMA’s rules require telcos to verify maximum internet speeds when migrating customers to the NBN and notify them when speeds cannot meet those that were originally advertised to them.

The agency has issued Optus with a remedial direction, while TPG offered a court-enforceable undertaking to the ACMA, which was accepted.

Optus and TPG are both required to commission an independent audit of their relevant compliance systems and implement effective systems and governance processes to ensure future compliance.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said when telcos cannot deliver the internet speeds advertised in a plan, customers are entitled to move to a cheaper, lower-speed plan or exit the contract at no cost.

“Optus and TPG were charging these people for internet speeds they could not get,” O’Loughlin said.

“These customers were left in the dark and denied the option to move to a cheaper contract or walk away.”

Last year, Telstra issued $25 million in refunds for the same issue, after ACMA found the telco failed to notify some 50,000 customers. Telstra was also ordered to commission an independent audit at the time.

“The scale of service failure by these companies is significant. Our actions will ensure the top three telcos are more vigilant delivering the internet service their customers expect and have paid for,” O’Loughlin added.

The ACMA said it can take Optus and TPG to court for failing to commission the audit and make the required changes to ensure future compliance.

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