New measures have been announced to provide consumers with more information and extra protections as they choose an internet plan and transition to the NBN.
With almost 7 million homes and businesses now able to order an NBN service and over 3.3 million premises already connected, the new measures address transitional gaps to improve the migration and service experience for consumers.
What are the changes?
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will implement new rules which will see greater information provided to make it easier to understand NBN plan and speed options so that consumers can make informed decisions when choosing a provider.
Under the changes, NBN service providers will be required to provide more information about their plans to potential customers. This will allow consumers to easily compare information on speeds, data allowances and pricing between providers so they can find the right one to meet their needs.
New service standards will address the current ‘handballing’ of complaints. Retail providers will also be required to report to the ACMA on complaints from their customers, with the ACMA to publish the results. NBN Co will also be required to report on performance such as their connection timeframes, including ‘right first time’ installations.
Retail providers will be required to undertake a line test at the time of connection to ensure a functioning and quality service and a speed test at any time if requested by a customer. Consumers will also be able to be reconnected to a previous service until they are able to successfully connect to the NBN.
What work is already underway?
The Government is already working closely with NBN Co, regulators and industry to improve the NBN consumer experience. These new changes strengthen existing initiatives which include:
- the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Measuring Broadband Australia program to independently test and publicly report real-world NBN speeds being experienced by consumers;
- ACCC guidance to retail service providers (RSPs) on how to advertise NBN broadband speeds particularly in peak periods (7-11pm);
- Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) research into the consumer experience to inform and guide Government intervention;
- a Migration Assurance Framework developed and agreed with industry which sets out the roles and responsibilities of all parties in delivering a smooth transition to the NBN; and
- through the industry CEO forum, encouraging NBN Co and RSPs to jointly improve shared systems and processes to improve the NBN migration experience.
When will the changes happen?
Improving the NBN experience for consumers is a priority for the Government. The ACMA will implement these measures from early 2018. A total of $8.7 million will be provided to the ACMA over three years to implement these measures.