Australian telco fined £3.5m over broadband ads

The Australian Federal Court has fined Optus £3.5m for running misleading broadband advertising campaigns in 2010, which failed to highlight traffic-management policies
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Australian telecommunications company Optus has been fined for running misleading broadband advertising.

The Australian Federal Court ordered the firm to pay a massive $5.26m (£3.5m) fine on Thursday. The court erupted in shock at the high penalty imposed by Justice Nye Perram in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) case against Optus, which sought to bring the telco to task for 11 advertisements from its "Think Bigger" and "Supersonic" broadband campaigns run on TV, radio, hoardings and online in 2010.

The court found that the advertising for the fixed-line broadband plans was deceptive because the company had not made it clear that users would have their speed reduced to 64Kbps once they had exceeded their monthly peak or off-peak allowances. The ACCC had inferred that Optus failed to disclose that once a user had surpassed their off-peak quota, their peak quota would be deducted for any downloads thereafter. "The contravention here is a serious one and the public should be protected from any further repetition of it," Perram said in his original judgement.

For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see Optus cops $5.26m fine for misleading ads on ZDNet Australia.

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