TPG Internet Pty Ltd to Compensate Customers for Slow NBN Speeds

Friday 22 December 2017 @ 8.57 a.m. | Legal Research | Trade & Commerce

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (the ACCC) has revealed in a recent Media Release that TPG Internet Pty Ltd (TPG) will compensate nearly 8,000 of its customers who were misled about maximum speeds they could achieve on certain TPG NBN plans.

See our previous articles on ACCC action against Optus Internet Pty Ltd and the ACCC Inquiry into Digital Platforms.


It is alleged that between 1 September 2015 and 30 June 2017, TPG sold NBN broadband plans advertising a range of speeds, including the top 100/40 speed tier (download speeds of 100 Mbps and upload speeds of 40 Mbps), with TPG advertising its high-speed plan as "Seriously Fast Internet. Up to 100Mbps".

TPG has admitted that by promoting and offering speed plans with maximum speeds that could not be delivered, it likely contravened the Australian Consumer Law (the ACL) by engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct and making false or misleading representations.

Reaction from the ACCC

The ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims said:

“The technical limitations of NBN’s fibre to the node technology meant many TPG customers could not reach the advertised 100/40 speeds they paid for. Some couldn’t even get half those advertised speeds. TPG charged customers higher prices for the promise of faster speeds, misleading many customers into paying a premium price for a service they could not get. This is the third major internet provider we have taken action against in the past few weeks. Internet service providers must take responsibility to ensure that their customers get the promised speeds that they pay for.”

The action affected TPG customers who purchased TPG’s fibre-to-the node (FTTN) and fibre-to the-building (FTTB) NBN plans. For example:

  • 7,509 (62%) of 100/40 Mbps FTTN customers could not receive the speeds they purchased, of those customers 2,088 could not even receive 50/20 Mbps;
  • 42 (4%) of 100/40 Mbps FTTB customers could not receive the speeds they purchased; and
  • 411 (2%) of 25/5 Mbps FTTN customers could not receive the speeds they purchased (this plan is no longer sold by TPG).

What next for TPG customers?

The SMH reveals that TPG customers will be contacted by 2 March 2018 with information about compensation options and the maximum speed they can achieve, with those impacted likely to be offered the chance to move to a lower-tier speed plan with a refund, or the option to exit their plan,  with refunds potentially between $10 to $30 per month.

Comment from the Company

Chief Operating Officer of TPG, Craig Levy said promoting speed on the NBN had not been simple for any of the service providers:

"We apologise to the NBN customers that have been confused about broadband speeds, the total number of which represents less than 3.5 per cent of our total NBN subscriber base … Due to the multiple NBN technologies available, TPG and other retailers have found themselves in a very difficult position because FTTN and FTTB technologies speeds are dependent on a number of factors including distance, co-existence and copper quality.”

He said further:

“… The retailers also only find out the speed a consumer can obtain after they have been activated - which is why speed was not a main focus of its TV, radio or internet advertising … TPG has recently implemented the new ACCC guidelines which includes promoting Typical Evening Speeds as well as confirming [FTTN and FTTB] speeds after activation. We hope that the risks of such confusion will diminish.”

TPG has provided a court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC detailing the action compensation it will provide to affected customers.

ACCC action against Telstra

In a recent ACCC Media Release it was revealed that Telstra and its Belong brands have agreed to offer remedies to around 42,000 customers for promoting and offering some of its National Broadband Network (NBN) speed plans, between September 2015 and November 2017, as being capable of delivering specified maximum speeds, when those maximum speeds could not be achieved in real-world conditions.

Telstra admits that by this conduct it was likely to have contravened the ACL by engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct and making false or misleading representations and has provided a court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC detailing the remedies it will provide affected customers, including refunds, the option to change speed plans, and exit from contracts without paying a fee.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the investigation:

“… revealed many of Telstra’s FTTN and FTTB customers could not receive the maximum speed of their plan. 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.”

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Telstra offers to compensate 42,000 customers for slow NBN speeds – ACCC Release MR 199/17

TPG to compensate customers for slow NBN speeds – ACCC Media Release MR 250/17

TPG to compensate 8000 customers misled about NBN speeds –

Slow NBN: TPG the latest telco to compensate thousands of customers –

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