The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is lecturing internet service providers (ISPs) over being truthful in advertisements about the speeds available over hybrid fibre-coaxial and fibre networks ahead of the roll-out of the National Broadband Network.
The peak competition body has today released an information paper (PDF) to air concerns the ACCC has that telcos may advertise HFC and fibre (NBN based or not) broadband speeds as being higher than those actually experienced by the end user. The ACCC has advised telcos offering such services either on the NBN or through existing fibre networks to avoid using terms like "up to", "maximum" or "peak" if it is unlikely that speed will ever be able to be reached by the consumer.
The ACCC wouldn't be afraid to take the telcos to task if the commission believes the ads are misleading users, according to chair Graeme Samuel.
"ISPs that under-deliver on their promises and fail to demonstrate a reasonable basis for their claims will be liable to ACCC enforcement action," Samuel said. "The increase in the availability of high-speed broadband services can offer significant benefits to consumers and an opportunity for greater competition between retail ISPs."
"However, for these benefits to be fully realised, ISPs must ensure that they do not market their services in a way that misleads consumers and results in an unfair competitive advantage."
Over the past year, the ACCC has taken Optus, TPG and Dodo to court over their advertising of copper-based broadband services. In the case of Optus, the telco copped fines and penalties for the advertisements of two of its broadband plans, which failed to make clear to users that once their monthly download limit was exceeded, their speed would be throttled to 64 kilobits per second.