NSW Business Chamber calls for nbn guarantee

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 09 March, 2018

NSW Business Chamber calls for nbn guarantee

The NSW Business Chamber is calling for the introduction of a National Broadband Service Guarantee, which would leave businesses entitled to compensation when the set standards are not met.

In a submission to the ACCC’s inquiry into nbn wholesale service standards, the state’s peak business organisation proposed an enforceable guarantee backed by provisions including civil penalties for non-compliance.

The chamber’s chief executive, Stephen Cartwright, said drop-outs, poor installations and service faults are “crippling” for affected businesses.

“In late 2017, the NSW Business Chamber conducted a state-wide survey of members and we found delays and disruptions in the rollout of the nbn were costing NSW businesses, on average, more than $9000,” he said.

“We have too many examples where businesses can’t trade or process transactions because of serious failures with broadband services. The issues relate primarily to a lack of accountability, responsibility and cooperation between the parties involved in the provision of broadband services.”

The proposed service guarantee would include guaranteed service standards, specifications and quality checks of installation works, requirements to maintain service continuity when customers migrate to the nbn and dispute resolution and consultation procedures.

All compliance efforts would be managed by the ACCC, which would have the power to impose civil penalties and other enforcement provisions for breaches of the guarantee.

The chamber is also calling for the establishment of a customer consultative group, made up of business, the community and residential stakeholders, to advise of the impacts of broadband outages and other issues.

“The introduction of a National Broadband Service Guarantee would result in improved collaboration in the delivery of broadband services and help reduce the frustration and confusion currently faced by consumers in resolving faults and service failures,” Cartwright said.

“Something needs to be done urgently to put the onus back on the parties supplying broadband services to deliver what they promise by assuming responsibility and better coordinating their efforts.”

One local business significantly impacted by nbn connection issues is The Bay Tree Gallery and associated gift shop The Brown Shutter. Owners Steven and Laurel Horton conduct much of their business and advertising online.

Steven Horton was initially excited at the news the nbn was coming to their area, but just over 12 months since the installation the network has cost them time and money, and has fallen well short of what they were promised.

“From the moment we requested that our sites be transferred to the nbn with Telstra Business, we have had many problems of which some are still present today. We have so many drop-outs that we have to use the 4G Wi-Fi system to operate our EFTPOS facility, due to the amount of transactions that fail when using the nbn,” he said.

“If the telcos say they can provide 100 megabites per second then they have to make sure they deliver.”

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