Vocus is set to have the NBN speed claims of its Dodo and iPrimus brands tested in the federal court after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission filed suit against the company.
The ACCC alleges evening peak speeds advertised by Dodo and iPrimus between March 2018 and April 2019 were largely unachievable.
“We believe many of Dodo and iPrimus’ NBN customers would have been unable to regularly receive the advertised speeds during the busy evening period of between 7pm–11pm,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said in a statement.
“The ACCC will argue that Dodo and iPrimus used a fundamentally flawed testing methodology, developed by Vocus, which was not a reasonable basis for their advertising claims about certain typical evening speeds.”
A Vocus spokesperson told iTnews the company is "disappointed" in the filing given its cooperation with the ACCC over an extended period of time.
"We’re disappointed that the ACCC has decided to issue proceedings related to activities that occurred between March 2018 and April 2019," a spokesperson said.
"Dodo and iPrimus have been engaged in discussions with the ACCC over an extended period and have cooperated fully throughout the entire investigation.
"We are reviewing the ACCC’s claims and will not be providing further comment as the matter is before the courts."
The competition watchdog alleges that Vocus’ determined its advertised ‘typical evening speed’ claim “using only the daily 75 fastest speeds observed across Vocus’ entire network in the busy period, excluding slower speeds where a connection was more likely to be impacted by congestion.”
The period covered by the lawsuit was one in which there was intense competition among NBN retail service providers (RSPs) to advertise high peak speeds as they competed to sign up customers.
By mid-2018, there was some stabilisation in the speeds being reported, though iPrimus and Dodo advertised speeds at the upper end of the 50 Mbps tier.
By contrast, the ACCC noted, the commission’s own broadband monitoring program “has shown Dodo and iPrimus’ broadband speeds have consistently performed towards the lower end of the nine NBN providers measured and reported on” since February 2019.
“Consumers need reliable broadband speed information in order to decide which provider to get an NBN service from,” Sims said.
“How broadband speeds hold up during busy evening periods is a critical issue for many consumers, and all service providers must have a reasonable basis for the broadband speed claims that they make.”