CNT Corp Pty Ltd has paid three infringement notices totalling $19,800 and provided a court enforceable undertaking to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission after it offered and charged for wholesale fibre to the premises (FTTP) broadband internet services at data transfer rates that its network could not support.
“All suppliers of broadband services must make sure they accurately represent the performance of their services,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.
“This is a cautionary tale for the telecommunications industry as it transitions to technologies that are capable of delivering faster broadband services. If you make claims about the speed of your services, you must ensure that real-world performance matches what is promised.”
CNT Corp builds and operates FTTP networks in new housing estates.
Between July 2011 and early April 2012, CNT Corp represented that it could supply wholesale FTTP broadband internet services with downstream data transfer rates of 25, 50 and 100 megabits per second in the Eden Brook housing estate located in Pakenham, Victoria. CNT Corp also represented that its network had backhaul transmission capacity of 100 megabits per second when this was not the case.
In fact, because of its limited backhaul capacity, CNT Corp’s network could not support data transfer rates above 20 megabits per second for even a single user. As a result, a number of consumers in the estate never received the performance levels they were paying for.
CNT Corp has admitted that its conduct was likely to have contravened the Australian Consumer Law.
The court enforceable undertaking requires CNT Corp to acquire additional backhaul transmission capacity for its Eden Brook network, provide affected consumers with credit vouchers redeemable for broadband services and implement a trade practices compliance program.
The ACCC is prioritising consumer protection in the telecommunications sector and is paying close attention to claims about the performance of internet services. Guidance for traders is available in the ACCC’s publication HFC and Optical Fibre Broadband Speed Claims and the CCA. This guidance is relevant to suppliers, from those operating small scale networks such as CNT Corp to those that will operate over the National Broadband Network.
The infringement notices are listed and a copy of the court enforceable undertaking will be available on the Public Register on the ACCC's website at www.accc.gov.au.
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