Optus fined $1.5 million for forced HFC NBN push

Posted: 23 May 2018 9:20 am

14,000 Optus customers were misled about their HFC connections.

The multi-technology version of the national broadband network rollout incorporates numerous technologies, including the HFC (Hybrid Fibre Coaxial) networks rolled out by Telstra and Optus in the 1990s. HFC has been a rather thorny problem for nbn co as late, but it's not the only company to run afoul of issues.

The Federal Court has ruled that Optus's moves to forcibly shift customers from its HFC networks over to the NBN were misleading, especially in the way that it presented short disconnection timeframes – as little as 30 days in some cases.

Customers were informed that they had to sign up to Optus NBN services when they had the freedom to choose any provider over a period of time ranging, according to the ACCC's release on the matter, from October 2015 to March 2017. All up, it estimates that around 14,000 Optus customers were misled.

"Optus pressured customers by misrepresenting the time period in which services could be disconnected," Rod Sims, ACCC Chairman said.

"Businesses should not make false representations which distort customers’ decision making. This is particularly important when many Australians are moving to the NBN for the first time.

"It is illegal for businesses to mislead their customers and create a false impression through their communications."

The Federal Court has ruled that Optus has to pay a $1.5 million penalty for misleading consumers. Optus has already paid out $833,000 in compensation to affected customers.

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