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Optus Strong-Arming Cable Customers Onto NBN

The fear of losing tens of thousands of broadband customers has seen Optus come out swinging threatening to sign them up as Optus NBN customers before they can consider changing provider.

Reports by The Sydney Morning Herald assert that the telco is calling broadband customers in newly NBN-ready areas and threatening to disconnect both telephone and broadband services within 30 days if they don’t migrate from Optus cable to the NBN network.

According to the reports, published by the Herald, “the Optus representative then offers to arrange an NBN connection appointment before the 30-day deadline, to transfer the customer to an Optus NBN service, without explaining that they have a choice of internet service provider.”

The report cites a number of incidents in East Keilor, which is expected to become NBN-ready in May.

When contacted by media, the telco did not deny its efforts to fast-track the HFC cable network shutdown but claimed that affected customers in East Keilor had incorrectly been issued a 30-day deadline and actually had 90 days to make the switch. They now say they are contacting customers to clarify.

“While the NBN has indicated that copper or HFC networks will be shut down within 18 months of an area becoming serviceable, providers of existing internet services, such as Optus, may make the decision to disconnect services sooner,” the Optus spokesperson told The Herald.

By jumping ahead of the expected 18-month switchover period, it is understood that Optus will be able to decommission its cable network infrastructure and free up fibre running to the exchange to use as backhaul support for their mobile network.

In response to Optus’ NBN aggressive migration tactics, Teresa Corbin, chief executive of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, insists Australians are entitled to sufficient time to consider their options.

“For consistency and to avoid confusion among consumers, it would be better if all networks followed similar transition periods,” Corbin she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

According to her, “short switch over periods may require consumers to stay with the same provider and prevent them from taking advantage of other providers or better deals over the NBN.”


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