Telstra is providing refunds for slow NBN speeds

Matt Sayer 8 November 2017 NEWS

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Around 42,000 Telstra customers misled by advertised NBN speeds will be eligible for compensation.

It's no secret the rollout of the NBN has been fraught with issues, from Cockatoos chewing through $80,000 worth of power and fibre cables, to nbn co reverting to the old copper network for the sake of saving money. Recently, many Aussies have found that their new NBN connections aren't performing up to snuff, with Internet speeds considerably slower than the ones they've paid for.

While this is an unfortunate byproduct of the existing copper infrastructure and the NBN's reliance on it in certain areas of the country, the communication from ISPs regarding this hasn't been as clear as it could be.

Following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Telstra is taking steps as one of the first ISPs to offer refunds for underperforming NBN connections. Around 42,000 Telstra customers were identified by the ACCC as receiving connections incapable of achieving the maximum speeds advertised by Telstra. These customers were promised fibre to the node (FTTN) and fibre to the building (FTTB) connections with speeds of up to 100Mbps download and 40Mbps upload, but due to limitations in the infrastructure at their residence, those speeds were functionally impossible.

Because Telstra did not make this clear to its customers, it was in breach of Australian Consumer Law and has now provided the ACCC with a court-enforceable agreement to offer refunds to affected customers, as well as the option to change speed tiers or exit from the plan without penalty.

"We are pleased that Telstra proactively reported this serious problem to the ACCC and has cooperated in creating a remediation plan for affected customers," said ACCC Chairman Rod Sims. "However, we are mindful this is not just a Telstra problem; it is an industry problem where consumers are often not getting the speeds they are paying for."

The ACCC has promised to continue investigating other ISPs offering NBN plans to ensure they're accurately representing the speeds customers will receive. As a preventative measure, the ACCC is advising that all ISPs clearly state the Internet speeds customers can expect between 7:00pm and 11:00pm, which is typically the busiest period of the day.

The breakdown of affected customers as identified by the ACCC are as follows:

• 26,497 (56%) of Telstra FTTN customers on the 100/40 Mbps plan could not receive 100/40 Mbps. 9,606 of those customers couldn't receive 50/20 Mbps either.
• 6,352 (45%) of Telstra FTTN customers on the 50/20 Mbps plan could not receive 50/20 Mbps.
• 9,342 (2%) of Telstra FTTN customers on the 25/5 Mbps plan could not receive 25/5 Mbps.


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