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Telstra withdraws 'confusing' ads on broadband.



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Christian Zahra MP Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Minister for Communications Federal Member for McMillan

MMEEDDIIAA RREELLEEAASSEE 3 July 2002

TELSTRA WITHDRAWS ‘CONFUSING’ ADS ON BROADBAND

Telstra’s decision to withdraw advertisements for its broadband services, following an investigation by the ACCC into whether they were misleading consumers, is welcome.

Confusing advertisements about broadband technology, which make consumers feel as though they’re being hoodwinked, will only stall the take up of this technology - and that’s exactly what we don’t want.

Australia is already lagging behind in terms of the roll out of broadband. We have slipped from 13th to 16th position within the OECD and we need to be doing everything we can to encourage the take up of this technology.

The ACCC’s recent update to its Snapshot of Broadband Deployment showed that at the end of March 2002 the number of broadband connections in Australia was double that recorded at the end of July 2001.

People are starting to take up these high-speed Internet services in Australia, and we don’t want this growth stalled by advertisements that don’t give consumers the full picture.

All this does is create uncertainty about the technology in people’s minds and they start to worry about being hoodwinked by confusing comparisons and lack of price transparency.

Telstra has around 60 per cent of the broadband market in Australia and has a critical role to play in the roll out of the technology.

What we need Telstra and other broadband providers to be doing is being upfront about the services they can offer and not making unrealistic price comparisons that only confuse consumers. Otherwise people will become wary of the technology and that will retard the growth in uptake.

Labor strongly supports the work of the ACCC in protecting consumers and ensuring price transparency in the broadband market.

The ACCC has an important role to play in making sure that prices and services are transparent and that consumers are not put off the technology by confusing or misleading claims by providers.

ends

Media Contact: Christian Zahra MP (03) 5127 1066 or 0417 034 725