Commerce Commission says 2degrees cheated broadband tests

2degrees conducted risked undermining integrity of MBNZ programme

The Commerce Commission has published a letter sent to 2degrees CEO, Mark Aue, detailed how the telco sought to sway the outcome of broadband service performance testing conducted for the commission by SamKnows.

The Commission runs the programme to measure the broadband performance of more than 3000 New Zealand households.

The commission says 2degrees used a computer script or code to identify customers on its network that had volunteered to have their services monitored by SamKnows, and then took steps to enhance the performance of 14 volunteers' internet connections.

“Two volunteers were moved to better (faster) plans and were given bespoke discount so there was no increase in cost for them. One volunteer was temporarily disconnected to prompt them to contact 2degrees and discuss their broadband connection,” the letter said.

“Our opinion is that 2degrees' conduct between the period of July 2018 and November 2018 put at risk the integrity of the [Measuring Broadband New Zealand] programme and public trust in the results.”

The commission said it had removed these 14 services from the results for that period and restated them.

It said 2degrees had submitted a written commitment that it had put an end to the investigated conduct, and had put appropriate processes in place to ensure it would not be repeated.

“The commitment reflects the adherence of 2degrees to the code of conduct which all tested RSPs signed by 1st of July 2019, which came into force after the period considered in this investigation,” the commission said.

The code obliges all tested broadband providers to act in good faith and not to intentionally enhance, degrade or tamper with test results of any individual panellist or broadband provider.

The commission said it would continue to actively monitor compliance with the code and might publicly disclose non-compliant behaviours in the future.

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