Optus hit for misleading broadband ads

The Federal Court has once again hit Optus for misleading advertising for its "unlimited broadband" TV and newspaper advertisements.

The Federal Court has once again hit Optus for misleading advertising for its "unlimited broadband" TV and newspaper advertisements.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took the telco to the Federal Court over the advertising for "unlimited broadband" plans with caps of 15GB and 30GB, where the download speed would be reduced to 256 kilobits per second after the cap was exceeded.

Justice Anthony North ruled on Friday that Optus had breached the Trade Practices Act in failing to sufficiently and prominently disclose that the download speed would be throttled. The penalty has not yet been disclosed.

ACCC chair Graeme Samuel welcomed the ruling.

"Telecommunications providers should think very carefully before claiming that their service offerings are unlimited. If there are any limitations, then they run the risk that the advertisements are misleading and that they will receive unwanted attention from the ACCC," Samuel said in a statement.

"It is simply unacceptable to make bold headline claims like 'unlimited' and then to bury important conditions or qualifications in the fine print as Optus did in this case."

In a statement, Optus said that it had accepted Justice North's decision and "has long since ceased advertising 'unlimited broadband'".

The telco copped a three-year ban from the Federal Court last year over misleading advertising for its "Think Bigger" and "Supersonic" broadband advertising campaigns that also failed to sufficiently disclose that download speeds would be capped when the data limit was exceeded.

Optus also took Vodafone to court over its "Infinite" mobile phone plan advertisements; however, initial attempts to have the advertising withdrawn were unsuccessful.