Vodafone New Zealand said it will defend itself against charges filed by the country’s Commerce Commission alleging it engaged in “false and misleading conduct” about the nature of its FibreX broadband service.
The charges, filed in the Auckland District Court, relate to the operator’s FibreX service offered in the regions of Wellington, Christchurch and Kapiti, between October 2016 and March 2018. The commission alleged by naming its broadband service ‘FibreX’ and using billboards, radio, direct-marketing and websites to promote the service, Vodafone misled consumers into thinking that the service was a full fibre-optic broadband service (like services delivered over the government-subsidised Ultra-Fast Broadband network) when it is not.
Vodafone said in a statement: “We disagree with the charges laid by the commission and welcome the opportunity to defend the naming and marketing of FibreX and reinforce the benefits of this service.”
The operator added it “had a vision to provide consumers with an alternative way to receive super-fast reliable broadband that would also be more affordable and offer a better installation experience”. It said it delivered the service through a significant investment in its own hybrid fibre coaxial network.
Vodafone claimed it has always been clear in its communications to consumers, pointing out the Advertising Standards Authority looked into its advertising of FibreX in 2017 and ruled it was not misleading.
The Auckland District Court will open the case on 22 May.