Telkom backs down on ADSL user policy

Telkom ADSL AUP

Telkom’s ADSL Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) warned users against downloading large files or large quantities of files and online gaming as it “may result in excessive data transfer”.

The company further warned that ADSL users should limit the usage of data transfer when playing games online. “Alternatively use local gaming sites like games.saix.net,” Telkom said.

Mail, News Groups and CHAT programs are also not deemed safe, and Telkom warned that files with the suffix "avi", "jpeg", "mpeg", "gif", and others which are sent to customers can contain very large amounts of data.

The AUP also prohibited running servers (that put traffic on the network) and hosting multi-user interactive forums, such as chat rooms.

Advertising

Telkom’s ADSL AUP directly contradicts the company’s print, online, billboard and radio advertising which states, that its DoBroadband services give you “Gaming, Music, Entertainment Africa, Self Help.”

A television commercial depicts a man watching a war video game and a voice states, inter alia, “Do the connection, do the speed and do gaming like never before…”

Complaints

This contradiction did not go down well with consumers.

Seventeen complaints were lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) stating that Telkom’s advertising campaigns were misleading.

“In essence, the complainant submitted that the advertisement is misleading, as it gives an impression that watching movies and playing games etc. is acceptable with its Internet service whereas this is not true as it is against the respondent’s Acceptable User Policy to do such things,” the ASA stated.

Telkom withdraws AUP

Telkom responded by saying that the Acceptable User Policy (AUP) for ADSL was valid before the launch of the campaign in question, and that it will withdraw the AUP.

“Telkom has now undertaken to withdraw the AUP. It therefore appears that there is nothing stopping the service users from, inter alia, watching movies and playing games provided that the respondent is able to supply that service,” the ASA said.

“Telkom’s undertaking therefore appears to address the complainant’s concerns, and there is therefore no need for the Directorate to consider the merits of the matter.”

The ASA accepted Telkom’s undertaking on condition that the ADSL AUP is withdrawn with immediate effect and that it is not used again in future in a manner that contradicts the company’s advertising.

A quick look at the Telkom website reveals that while the ‘DSL Acceptable Use Policy’ URL still exists, the link to the document has been removed.

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Telkom backs down on ADSL user policy