Australia’s consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), fined three Australian broadband internet providers AUD33.5m (USD22m) in total for failing to deliver the purchased internet speeds for some of their clients, as reported by Reuters on November 11. The three companies are Telstra Group Ltd [TLS:AU], Optus Mobile Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd [ST:SP], and TPG Telecom Ltd [TPG:AU]. The ACCC accused these three companies of failing to deliver their advertised internet speeds in their 50Mbps and 100Mbps plans between 2019 and 2020. The ACCC said that these companies violated the Australian Consumer Law and ordered them to contact and compensate affected customers, in addition to paying the penalties.
As Australia’s largest telecommunication company by market share, Telstra has breached the Australian Consumer Law multiple times in the past years. In April 2022, Telstra was fined AUD500,000 (USD356,983) for issuing incorrect bills and overcharging its customers over a 12-year period by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Telstra was ordered to refund AUD1.7m (USD1.15m) to affected customers. In December 2021, Telstra was fined AUD2.5m (USD1.8m) for repeatedly violating consumer protection regulations by the ACMA. The latest fine may further lower Australian consumers’ confidence in Telstra and other related broadband service providers.