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Pros advise on Optus 64Kbps 'supersonic'

The Federal Court in Sydney will next month hear experts determine if 64Kbps internet access can really be called "supersonic" broadband.
Written by Darren Pauli, Contributor

The Federal Court in Sydney will next month hear experts determine if 64Kbps internet access can really be called "supersonic" broadband.

Optus Supersonic plans

(Screenshot by ZDNet Australia)

Users of Optus' "Supersonic" internet plans who download over their prescribed limit will have their speeds slashed from 100Mbps to 64Kbps. This has drawn the ire of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and landed the telco in court.

The regulator has alleged that Optus had misled consumers with its "Supersonic" and "Think Bigger" broadband plans, breaching the Trade Practices Act, and will call in an expert to examine the practical differences between 100Mbps and 64Kbps by determining what services and applications can run over each limit.

Legal representatives for the ACCC said the expert testimony will be "uncontroversial".

Optus, which learned of the witness today, will call on an expert of its own by 21 October.

Legal proceedings kicked off last week against Optus.

The ACCC fingered 11 television, print, billboard and internet advertisements that state Optus "Supersonic" services are "four times faster than standard broadband" but fail to disclose the near dial-up shaping speeds.

Justice Perram set the case for two sittings during 27 and 29 October in a Federal Court of Australia hearing today. Both Optus and the ACCC indicated that they expect to resolve the dispute over the two days.

Evidence will be brought forward by both parties on 11 October and penalties were agreed to be heard at a later date, with the watchdog citing concerns to have the legitimacy of the Optus marketing campaigns ruled as soon as possible.

In a statement last week, the ACCC said it "alleges that Optus engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false representations in relation to the advertising of certain broadband plans as part of its 'Think Bigger' and 'Supersonic' promotional campaigns".

The case is the second time marketing has landed Optus in court fronting allegations of breaches of the Trades Practices Act by the ACCC. The telco found itself in court in June for its use of "unlimited" for voice and data plans that had various usage caps and prices, and is seeking to have the court clarify the application of the word to telecommunications services.

AAPT, perhaps irked by the rise of so-called "unlimited" plans, had sent Delimiter a dictionary and a personal note claiming it is the only internet provider to offer unlimited online access.

The ACCC is seeking an acknowledgement by Optus of its deceptive actions for the former case, as well as injunctions and costs.

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