Telstra, Optus and TPG don’t deliver for some NBN FTTN customers

Telstra, Optus and TPG

The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Telstra, Optus, and TPG for allegedly making false or misleading representations in some of their promotions of 50Mbps and 100Mbps NBN FTTN plans.

Long story short, all NBN carriage service providers (CSP) must monitor their customer’s real speeds and offer them a rebate, discount or move to a more appropriate cheaper plan that matches achievable speeds. It is the law, and failure to do so is a breach of Australian Consumer Law.

The ACCC states that Telstra, Optus and TPG wrongly accepted payments from customers for NBN FTTN services they knew could not achieve the promised speed.

Telstra, Optus and TPG each undertook to tell consumers within a specific or reasonable timeframe if the contracted speed was unavailable. They were to offer a cheaper plan with a refund if that was the case. Instead, we allege, they did not do these things. Collectively, hundreds of thousands of consumers were allegedly misled by these three big internet providers, Telstra, Optus and TPG. This behaviour is even more concerning because they were well aware of these issues and had earlier given undertakings to the ACCC to provide remedies to consumers with underperforming NBN FTTN plans. We are very disappointed that these companies do not appear to have taken seriously the undertakings they gave to the ACCC.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims

GadgetGuy’s take

If you can’t trust Telstra, Optus, and TPG, then who can you trust?

This is precisely the issue I had with Telstra from late 2017 to mid-2019 (you can read more here), and its complete apathy to me as a customer and apparent inability to solve the FTTN issue (which was its fault). Switching to Aussie Broadband at once fixed the issue, and I have been a deliriously happy 100/40Mbps FTTN user since.

The real issue is that about 30% of the NBN network uses Telstra’s old copper wire for the last mile to the home from a Fibre to the Node (FTTN). Of those, about 24% can get speeds between 50-100Mbps. You are also three times more likely to suffer outages from three to ten minutes.

In 2020 the ACCC stated that about a quarter of FTTN 50-100 Mbps customers still did not receive anywhere near their full plan speeds at any time. And 126,000 (about 4.7%) still could not get 25Mbps. These are serious numbers, especially when much of corporate Australia now works from home and needs reliable, fast internet.