NBN Co to offer compensation for missed appointments

ACCC signs off on court-enforceable undertaking from wholesaler

NBN Co has agreed to automatically pay a rebate to retail service providers (RSPs) every time it misses an appointment.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today announced it had accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from NBN Co relating to the network operator’s wholesale service standards.

The ACCC said that NBN Co had offered the undertaking after the consumer watchdog had revealed an interim access determination that it was proposing.

That interim determination relates to the ACCC’s current inquiry into NBN Co’s wholesale service standards. The ACCC in November announced it would launch the inquiry, with the commission expressing concern about the high number of NBN-related complaints, particularly when it comes to connecting premises to the new network and having faults rectified.

The inquiry has included scrutiny of the Wholesale Broadband Agreement. The WBA is the key agreement between NBN Co and RSPs (the telcos that sell NBN services).

NBN Co said today that within three months it would incorporate into the WBA the measures outlined in its undertaking to the ACCC.

“The undertaking is now in effect and NBN Co will work closely with retail service providers over the coming months to implement the improved service standards,” the company said.

“These changes will be offered equally to all of NBN Co’s wholesale customers by way of an offer to vary their Wholesale Broadband Agreement.”

The measures include a $25 rebate to RSPs for every late connection and fault rectification (up from an existing threshold where NBN Co commits to rebates if it fails to achieve a 90 per cent threshold), a $25 rebate for missed appointments, and making it easier for RSPs to receive rebates. The $25 rebates will be automatically paid to RSPs.

“Under the undertaking given to the ACCC, NBN Co will require the RSPs to continue to take reasonable steps to ensure customers receive a benefit from the improved rebates the service providers will receive from NBN Co,” ACCC chairperson Rod Sims said.

“This could mean customers could receive rebates from RSPs or other benefits, such as providing a substitute service while a fault is being fixed.”

“We have had constructive engagement with NBN Co and RSPs as part of our inquiry into NBN wholesale service standards,” Sims said.

“The undertaking provides stronger incentives for NBN Co to maintain a high standard of operational performance and so will result in a clear benefit to consumers.”

As part of its undertaking, NBN Co said it would also publish a range of information relating to the performance of its fixed wireless network, which in some areas has struggled to cope with demand.

That data will include the percentage of wireless network cells that have average download speeds falling into different ranges during peak periods (less than 3 megabits per second, 3-6Mbps, 6-12Mbps, 12-25Mbps, 25Mbps+).

NBN Co will reveal the average number of hours a day that cells delivering less than 6Mbps are congested.

NBN Co said it would incorporate the fixed wireless data in its monthly progress report.

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Tags broadbandNetworkingnbn coTelecommunicationsAustralian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)National Braodband Network (NBN)

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