The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published a guide for NBN fixed wireless customers who are having problems with the service.
Fixed wireless broadband is used by approximately 280,000 Australians in regional and remote areas – and NBN Co’s network has experienced some issues.
In March, 3 per cent of cells on fixed wireless towers were classified as congested. The ACCC points out as multiple services use each cell, the proportion of services impacted is higher than this figure.
The ACCC states NBN Co. has set a target to reduce the proportion of congested cells to less than 1 per cent by September this year and an additional $800 million has been earmarked for ongoing investment in the NBN fixed wireless network until 2022.
The aim of the ACCC’s guide is to helped affected customers be more confident in seeking a resolution and redress from their service provider if their speeds are lower than what’s written on the box.
“Consumers in rural and remote areas, like those in any other parts of Australia, should not be paying for speeds that they are not getting,” says ACCC Chair, Rod Sims.
The guide also provides some advice for those who are readying to switch to fixed wireless. For example, a customer can ask during the ordering process if it is likely they will be connected to a cell that is congested. If it turns out this may be the case and the customer has an existing reliable ADSL connection, delaying the order or not cancelling their ADSL service may be a wise move until the cell is upgraded.
Mr. Sims also reminded providers of their obligations in a situation where services don’t match what they advertise in terms of speed and performance.
“If services fall short of what has been advertised, broadband providers must offer remedies, technical support and information to customers,” he said.
Fixed Wireless Done Right
The issues some NBN fixed wireless customers are experiencing aside, the technology in general has come a long way in recent years. Implemented and managed correctly, fixed wireless internet is quick and reliable.
Non-NBN providers such as Lightning Broadband offer fixed wireless internet to homes and businesses in selected areas, using our own towers and robust technology. Unlike the NBN’s service, Lightning Broadband has focused on delivering wireless broadband connectivity in metropolitan areas. This has been primarily in the Melbourne area to this point (43 towers and counting) – but we’ve also recently set up our first point of presence in Perth, will soon be in Geelong and Sydney, with Brisbane in our sights for 2020.