Some financial relief for Mid-Western region’s long-suffering NBN customers may be on the horizon.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says Telstra has agreed to offer customers refunds, free exit from contracts, or new plans after it admitted its promised maximum NBN speeds could not be delivered.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said its investigations revealed Telstra could not deliver what they offered to thousands of customers.
“Our investigation revealed many of Telstra’s FTTN and FTTB customers could not receive the maximum speed of their plan,” he said.
“Even worse, many of these customers could not receive the maximum speed of a lower-speed plan.
“In essence, people were paying more to get higher speeds that they just weren’t able to get.”
Telstra has admitted that 9000 of its customers on its 100/40 Mbps deal - or 100 Mbps download and 40 Mbps upload - and 50/20 plan could not receive those speeds.
The consumer watchdog found 26,497 - more than half - of FTTN customers on the 100/40 Mbps deal could not get that speed, and 9606 of those consumers could not even receive the lower tier 50/20 Mbps speeds.
“However, we are mindful this is not just a Telstra problem; it is an industry problem where consumers are often not getting the speeds they are paying for,” Mr Sims said.
Consumer group Choice's spokesperson Tom Godfrey said people with ongoing telco issues do have the right to ask for a better deal.
"Consumers should be able to cancel their contract and leave without penalty if the problem is ongoing and the telco isn't providing its contracted service," he said.
Complaints about services under the NBN have risen by 160 percent in the past financial year according to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
The ACCC is asking other retailers for similar commitments to those Telstra has offered.