Stuff Fibre warned over speed claim

Managing director says it was all in good fun; regulator sees things differently.
Stuff Fibre managing director Sam Morse says "probably NZ's fastest internet" was meant as a light-hearted line.

A Stuff Fibre ad campaign has earned a warning from the Commerce Commission over an unsubstantiated speed claim.

The regulator’s investigation found Stuff Fibre was likely to have breached the Fair Trading Act because it did not have reasonable grounds for making the claim that it offered “Probably NZ’s fastest internet.”

No inspection by Morse
The part Fairfax-owned ISP had not done any broadband speed comparisons with competitors and admitted it did not know if its broadband services were actually faster than its competitors, the ComCom says.

Stuff Fibre managing director Sam Morse thinks the regulator got the wrong end of the stick or at least failed to appreciate the campaign’s Kiwi humour.

“'Probably NZ's fastest internet"' was in line with our brand, which is light-hearted and challenges the incumbents," he says.

However, the ISP has sucked it up and accepted the decision.

“We have removed the messaging from the market,” Mr Morse says.

Big fine
The ComCom’s warning letter includes a reminder that, in September, heat pump supplier Fujitsu NZ was the first company convicted under the unsubstantiated representations provision of the Fair Trading Act and was fined $310,000.

New player
Stuff Fibre was launched in September last year as a joint venture between Fairfax, which holds a controlling 51% stake, and Mr Morse’s startup, Giant Management (49%).

As something of a virtual ISP, Stuff Fibre originally sold a service that was, behind the scenes, provisioned by Vocus (owner of Orcon and Slingshot). Provisioning was later shifted to Vibe, a source inside the company says. Vocus and Vibe have not commented publicly.

Mr Morse refuses to give a customer number but says “We estimate we are winning 8% of all new fibre connections nationwide.”

Last week, Stuff Fibre announced its entry into the crowded online video market via a partnership with the US investor who now controls Quickflix Australia. Former Quickflix NZ general manager Paddy Buckley is in charge of the new venture, which will be called Stuff Pix and launch early next year.

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