Full Spectrum: Optus 'free' broadband

Summary:Despite being slapped on the wrist for its last big advertising campaign, Optus is confident that its new "free" broadband ads won't catch the eye of the industry watchdog.

Despite being slapped on the wrist for its last big advertising campaign, Optus is confident that its new "free" broadband ads won't catch the eye of the industry watchdog.

Last month, Optus unveiled a new bundle that will give customers 50GB per month of a free fixed broadband service if they sign up to a mobile plan of $89 per month.

At the same time, the company unveiled a new advertising campaign, moving away from the iconic animal theme with a bright-yellow cube.

While Optus boasted about this new campaign while announcing its annual results last week, Optus' aggressive broadband marketing has led to run-ins with the Trade Practices Act before. Optus copped $3.61 million in fines in 2010, for its ads spruiking its "Think Bigger" and "Supersonic" broadband plans. The Federal Court ruled in favour of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) claim that the ads were misleading to consumers, because it wasn't made clear that a user's bandwidth would be throttled when they went over their monthly download cap.

But Optus CEO Paul O'Sullivan said that the company learned its lesson from its last battle with the ACCC, and was extra careful in devising the "free broadband" campaign.

"We've been very mindful of the lessons we've learned from that exercise, and how we've advertised. Our advertising now goes through several checks, which are even more heightened than they were before, before they go into the public domain," he said. "They have to be signed off by our legal department, as well as senior management within the organisation.

"It's such a strong offer that you wonder whether it could be true, and, I assure you, it is true."

The ACCC told ZDNet Australia that it can't comment on specific advertising campaigns, and is not in a position to provide legal advice to Optus on these ads.

What do you think? Is the new ad campaign a bit misleading?

Topics: Telcos, Government, Government : AU, Optus

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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