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ACCC Propose New NBN Rebates For Faults

The ACCC has proposed a reworked rebate structure for missed NBN appointments, late connections and unresolved faults as it seeks to improve wholesale service levels.

Published in a draft decision released today, the consumer watchdog has proposed new regulated wholesale terms for service standards the NBN Co provides retail service providers.

ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, claims new arrangements give the NBN Co more incentives to lift its service standards to retail providers, flowing onto consumers for less missed appointments, delayed connections and unresolved faults.

An NBN Co spokesperson asserts it will “always work constructively” with the ACCC, however, is concerned the draft determination will “not drive the right improvements” for customer experience, causing unintended consequences should rebates not pass onto consumers.

Suggested enhancements to the current wholesale arrangement include:

  • Changing the structure of rebates for late connections and fault repairs to apply on a daily basis, rather than as a one-off payment, and increasing the size of these rebates.
  • Increasing the size of rebates for missed appointments by NBN technicians from $25 to $75 and requiring retail service providers to pass on this rebate to consumers.
  • Introducing monthly $20 rebates for fixed wireless services in congested cells or connected to congested backhaul links, as well as $20 rebates for fixed line services that fail to meet certain minimum speed objectives.
  • Enhancing reporting, measurement and automation requirements to promote better communication, transparency and coordination.

“We have heard long-standing concerns from consumers about how frustrating, inconvenient and costly these issues can be,” remarks Mr Sims.

“We need to see more action from NBN Co and RSPs, especially now that the NBN rollout is entering its final stages”

“It’s unusual for a monopoly telecommunications network operator of NBN Co’s scale not to be subject to regulated service standards.”

The Competition and Consumer Act (CCA) gives the ACCC power to ensure retail providers have access to quality, reliable products and timely responses to problems from the NBN Co.

“We expect retailers to ensure that their customers benefit from the payment of wholesale rebates, and we will be working closely with the ACMA to make sure this is the case,” Sims claims..

“We will also continue to promote better NBN consumer outcomes with our broadband speed program, Measuring Broadband Australia.”

The consumer watchdog is seeking stakeholder feedback on its draft decision, which sets out the ACCC’s proposed regulated terms.

The NBN Co and retail service providers are currently in talks for a new wholesale broadband agreement, with Sims expecting its process to complement industry negotiations.

“These proposed regulated terms will establish baseline service standards, while allowing parties freedom to bargain on specific terms”

“We expect NBN Co and other service providers to identify more improvements that will benefit consumers.”

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