Telstra will compensate thousands of customers for broken NBN promises

After failing to deliver on the advertised speeds of its high-end NBN plans, Telstra will be compensating roughly 42,000 of its unhappy broadband customers.

According to The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australia's biggest telco has offered to reimburse NBN customers who were promised speeds that were simply unattainable on their fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) connections. 

Though they were promised download speeds of up to 100Mbps and upload speeds of up to 40Mbps, many could not even reach the top speeds of the speed tier below that, according to ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

“In essence, people were paying more to get higher speeds that they just weren’t able to get," said Sims. 

The ACCC stated that 56% (26,497) of FTTN customers on 100/40Mbps plans were unable to achieve the advertised top speeds, while 9,606 users on the same plans could not even reach half of that speed. 

Top speeds were also not obtained by 45% (6,352) of FTTN customers on 50/20Mbps plans and 2% (9,342) on 25/5Mbps plans.

Telstra has put forward a detailed, court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC that outlines what the telco will do to remedy the situation with its customers, including such measures as refunds and the ability to exit their contract free of charge. 

It's worth noting that the ACCC does not consider this a Telstra-specific problem, but an industry-wide one. 

“We will continue to investigate other retail service providers (RSPs) selling broadband plans over the NBN and take enforcement action where appropriate," said Sims, further stating that RSPs are expected to "provide consumers with accurate information up front about the internet speeds they can expect to receive, and then deliver on those promises.”

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.