ACCC to probe nbn service standards

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 02 November, 2017

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In the wake of rising complaints over the quality of the customer experience for nbn services, the ACCC has launched an inquiry into whether regulation is needed to improve service standards.

The competition regulator will investigate whether the standards of nbn wholesale services are adequate.

The inquiry will consider redress arrangements for when dissatisfied customers seek compensation from their retail service providers when the wholesale standards being provided are not adequate.

“We are very concerned about the high number of complaints from consumers around poor customer experiences, particularly in relation to customers connecting to nbn services and having faults repaired,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“Many of these complaints relate to matters set out in wholesale service level standards. We will examine whether the service levels that are currently in place are appropriate and effective. This is important as what happens at the wholesale level often flows through to the retail level and affects customer experiences.”

The commercial agreements negotiated between nbn co and its retail service provider customers lay out minimum wholesale service standard levels, including performance objectives and operational targets for nbn co’s products and services.

These standards also include requirements for taking corrective action if service standard levels are not met as well as a framework for retail service providers to claim compensation on behalf of their retail customers.

“One of the main focuses of our inquiry will be whether there are appropriate incentives for nbn co to remedy service failures, along with the adequacy of compensation available to wholesale customers, to ensure consumers in turn are provided appropriate redress when things go wrong,” Sims said.

He added that the regulator is also concerned that some service levels at the retail level are not enforceable and that some service level standards are too opaque and do not have clear consequences and redress options if they are not met.

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