ACCC targets mobile internet advertising

06 10 2009

The ACCC has announced the launch of an Information Paper entitled “Mobile and Other Wireless Internet Speed Claims and the Trade Practices Act 1974”.

The Paper has been developed to assist ISPs in ensuring that their advertising for mobile and wireless internet is compliant with the Trade Practices Act 1974, and in particular the consumer protection provisions.

In launching the Paper, ACCC Chairman, Graeme Samuel said that:

The ACCC is concerned by companies over-promising and under-delivering the speeds available on mobile and wireless internet, particularly in the context of network upgrades and increasing wireless internet subscriptions,” “This Information Paper is intended to assist the whole industry – mobile and wireless internet retailers, resellers, and network owners – to comply with the law.

The ACCC has warned ISPs not to advertise terms such as ‘maximum’, ‘up to’ or ‘peak network’ speeds, “if those speeds are not generally achievable or likely to be achieved by consumers using the network.”. The ACCC warning indicates that it is taking a similar approach to that previously taken with ADSL2+ advertising.

The ACCC has expressed the view that ISPs should:

  1. only make speed claims based on ‘appropriate tests of network performance’ to show speeds that can generally be achieved; and
  2. prominently state the factors affecting mobile and wireless internet speeds such as congestion, location, and other variables.

The Paper also contains an Industry Checklist to assist with compliance – ISPs are reminded that they should also remember to ensure compliance with CommsAlliance Code C628:2007 TCP Code.

Compliance takes added significance in light of the ACCC’s recent actions in securing enforceable undertakings against some of Australia’s largest ISPs.

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