Proposed new rules will increase protection for households, businesses and organisations migrating to the National Broadband Network - but for Australians languishing now, it will be some time before implementation.
Last Thursday, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said it would be introducing new rules after a rapid increase in complaints. A report from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) published in October stated NBN complaints increased 160 per cent in the last financial year. Of 27,195 complaints, 11,224 were concerning delays in connection to the National Broadband Network.
ACMA analysis found complaints about connection issues took up to 28 calendar days to resolve and it was taking up to 45 calendar days for customers to have their old voice and data services moved across to the NBN. The key findings from the analysis can be viewed here (PDF).
This situation is such that some Australians have given up on the National Broadband Network and are actively seeking NBN alternatives.
Among the proposed new rules are requirements for telcos to line test new services to ensure they are functioning correctly, and to reconnect customers to legacy services where required until such time their NBN connection is working.
The ACMA will also undertake further research into modem quality that could eventually lead to implementation of technical standards, or a modem performance rating scheme.
The ACMA’s proposed new rules can be viewed here. Consultation will commence in early 2018, with view to implementation by 1 July 2018.
The Federal Government will also require NBN Co Limited (trading as nbn) to establish a " consumer experience dashboard" that will make connection, fault repair and service delivery performance details public.
" The measures follow the release of research by the ACMA which found that the supply chain from the NBN to the customer is not clear and often involves a number of parties," said a release from Minister for Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield.
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) welcomed the news.
"The experience of migrating to the NBN has shone a light on the inadequacies of the current regulatory framework to support the delivery of essential telecommunications services," said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. "Once in place these new rules will ensure that the regulator has better tools to ensure practices of telco providers improve."
In related news, the Sydney Morning Herald reported this week more than 95,000 households and businesses across Australia face having their internet and landlines disconnected in January if they haven't moved over to the national broadband network or arranged an alternative service.