Optus Forced To Refund Users Over Slow NBN

Optus Forced To Refund Users Over Slow NBN
Image: Optus

Optus has been forced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to refund thousands of customers who were promised fast broadband but received slower throughput. Almost half of Optus’ customers who paid for 100Mbps downloads didn’t get what was promised.

With the ACCC baring its teeth over NBN advertising claims, it’s not surprising the regulator is starting to give RSPs a hard time over their failure to live up to performance claims.

The ACCC found:

  • 5,430 (48%) Optus FTTN consumers on a 100/40 Mbps plan could not receive 100/40 Mbps, and 2,337 (21%) of those consumers could not receive 50/20 Mbps
  • 1,519 (26%) Optus FTTN consumers on a 50/20 Mbps plan could not receive 50/20 Mbps
  • 1,381 (3%) Optus FTTN consumers on a 25/5 Mbps plan could not receive 25/5 Mbps.

The ACCC has provided RSPs with a guide to better advertising when it comes to NBN speeds with some, such as Aussie Broadband (who I’m hearing good things about from friends around different parts of Melbourne) moving away from shared infrastructure and building their own with a view to making public their CVC (Connectivity Virtual Circuit). This is how much bandwidth they have purchased from BNBCo and is an indicator of how busy their connection to the network is.

The ACCC said Optus has admitted they offered speed plans that could not be delivered, in likely contravention of the Australian Consumer Law.

As a result, Optus NBN customers that were affected may receive a partial refund, an option to move to a different speed plan or exit their contract without further costs. Optus has undertaken to communicate this with their customers by 2 March 2018.

You can read the details of the undertaking on the ACCC website.


  • On the face of it, I think this is good stuff. But I do wonder that as long as nbn continues to be the actual root of the problem we’ll simply see telco’s getting creative with marketing. The result will be that making comparisons between nbn providers is as completely incomprehensible as comparisons between mobile providers.
    With the “up to” speed clauses there was a reasonable chance of the non-technical people being able to work out roughly (let’s not get into cvc too much) what’s a good deal for them.
    Question though – what are those figures? 5,430 (48%) on the 100/40? Surely Optus have more than 11,000 FTTN/B customer on that tier? Or are those numbers a tally of the folks who raised complaints?

    • I cant speak for the FTTN technology but im on HFC it has everything to do with your provider because the technology is so dated. Every provider can either provide more capacity (by if directly from NBN) or not sign up too many customers congesting their network. I know the NBN shouldn’t work like this but it does. Its 100% up to the provider to make sure they are giving their clients the advertised speeds, not cutting costs by not buying enough capacity.

      I know there are other issues giving people bad speeds but i found a provider who promised not to do all of the above and guess what? i have good HFC NBN now. With optus is was horrible

  • Instead of refunding people and throwing up their hands saying “too hard”, they should be forced to remedy the situation. The service should be capable of providing those speeds, if it doesn’t they need to fix it, not change the marketing.

  • I don’t really like how the NBN advertises their different tiers.

    It’s always ‘up to’, I think if you pay to upgrade to 25/5 you should never get less than 12/1 and if you do get less than that then they should have to compensate you.

  • And here I am, still stuck on ADSL 2 for another year, getting all of 4Mbps on a good day.

    At this point even the shitty FTTN we were all supposed to have in 2016 would be an improvement.

  • I am on the old cable from the nodes and I get speed at a constant 70 download all day and even in peak periods 7 to 11 it is still 70.I am very happy with optus.

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