Australian regulator aims to improve NBN service levels

Image courtesy NBN Co

COMMSUPDATE: A number of measures have been proposed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) aimed at improving NBN Co’s wholesale service levels, including a reworked rebate structure for missed appointments, late connections and unresolved faults. In a draft decision, the regulator has put forward new regulated wholesale terms for the service standards NBN Co provides to retail service providers (RSPs), noting that the proposals are in response to concerns raised by stakeholders during its National Broadband Network (NBN) wholesale service standards inquiry.

Among the proposed changes from existing wholesale arrangements are: a change to the structure of rebates for late connections and fault repairs to apply on a daily basis, rather than as a one-off payment, and an increase in the size of these rebates; an increase in the size of rebates for missed appointments by NBN technicians, from AUD25 (USD17) to AUD75, with a requirement that RSPs pass this rebate on to consumers; the introduction of monthly AUD20 rebates for fixed wireless services in congested cells or connected to congested backhaul links, as well as rebates for fixed line services that fail to meet certain minimum speed objectives; and the implementation of enhanced reporting, measurement and automation requirements to promote better communication, transparency and coordination.

With the ACCC having invited feedback on its proposals by a deadline of 1 November 2019, chairman Rod Sims said of the matter: ‘The new arrangements are designed to give NBN Co more incentives to lift its service standards to RSPs, which should, in turn, improve service to NBN consumers by reducing instances of missed appointments, delayed connections and unresolved faults … We have heard long-standing concerns from consumers about how frustrating, inconvenient and costly these issues can be. We need to see more action from NBN Co and RSPs, especially now that the NBN rollout is entering its final stages.’

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