The Australian Communications and Media Authority has released for comment the first of new proposed rules relating to protecting consumers moving to the National Broadband Network.
Last December the ACMA announced it would be developing rules to address various issues Australians have been experiencing in migrating to the NBN. The first rules relate to complaints-handling processes and monitoring. These consist of:
- The Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints Handling) Industry Standard 2018 (Complaints-handling Standard)
- Telecommunications (Consumer Complaints) Record‑Keeping Rules 2018
Further information can be found here. The deadline for submissions is 5 pm, 16 April 2018.
Additional rules are being developed relating to service continuity, line speed-testing and the provision of information to consumers about migrating to and using the NBN. The ACMA expects to release these rules for public consultation in April.
Consumer Experience Snapshot Unsettling
The announcement was accompanied by the release of an NBN consumer experience snapshot (PDF), based on the experiences of 1,881 NBN residential households surveyed.
More than a third (34%) of households reported being without phone and/or internet services during the connection process. A rather unsettling figure was 13% found themselves without an internet connection for more than a month.
Furthermore, 49 per cent reported dropouts and 28 per cent experienced service outages since connecting to the NBN. 33 per cent said they experienced slow data speeds in general and 36 per cent reported slow data speeds in the evening with varying frequency.
Among all households who made a complaint about issues since connecting to the NBN, 49 per cent remained unresolved at the time of the survey.
“Both our industry information-gathering exercise and our residential household survey demonstrate that telco complaints-handling practices need to improve,” said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.
With so many issues being reported, it’s little wonder then that some Australians are looking for alternatives to the NBN.
A large number of Australians are also aware of speed tests, which are very simple to use, for checking the performance of their NBN (or other) service. The snapshot states forty-two per cent of internet households reported they have completed speed tests to check download rates.
The most recent dashboard statistics from NBN Co. (week ending March 8) indicate 3,645,357 premises have been activated for the National Broadband Network and 6,349,487 are considered ready to connect.