Australian telecom firms fined $30.6m for false Internet speed claims

Three telcos have admitted in court of making false or misleading statements, claiming nearly 120,000 customers were affected.. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY – Three Australian telecom companies have been ordered by a court to pay a collective A$33.5 million (S$30.6 million) in penalties for making misleading claims about the speed of some NBN Internet plans, the country’s competition regulator said on Friday.

NBN, or National Broadband Network, is a government-run broadband network.

The Australian Federal Court has ordered Telstra to pay A$15 million, a unit of TPG Telecom to cough up A$5 million, and imposed a fine of A$13.5 million on Optus, a unit of Singtel, said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

According to the ACCC, the false or misleading statements were made for at least 12 months in 2019 and possibly extended until 2020, and related to their 50 megabits per second (Mbps) or 100Mbps fibre plans.

All three telcos have admitted in court of making false or misleading statements, the regulator said, claiming nearly 120,000 customers were affected.

Telstra said in a statement that between April 2019 and April 2020, it failed to verify the maximum attainable speed of the NBN services ordered by around 48,000 customers either completely or within a reasonable period after connection.

“We have gone through an extensive remediation and refund process. We have also taken a number of steps to ensure we better meet our regulatory obligations,” Telstra added.

TPG and Optus did not immediately respond to requests for comment. REUTERS

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