IA wants ISPs to proactively reimburse nbn customers
Internet Australia is urging all ISPs to follow the example of Telstra and Optus and agree to reimburse customers who are unable to achieve the nbn speeds they have subscribed to.
All service providers offering fibre to the node (FTTP) and fibre to the building (FTTB) services should be following in the operators’ footsteps, Internet Australia Chairman Dr Paul Brooks said.
“With Telstra and now Optus revealing the extent of customers being misled over attainable FTTN and FTTB line speeds, we call all other nbn service providers to proactively review service speeds of customers and follow their example,” he said.
“All service providers should follow Telstra and Optus’s lead, and proactively check each of their FTTN customers’ actual achieved line speed, compare with the subscription plan, and work with any customer who cannot achieve their expected performance to refund and/or remedy their problem.”
Optus this month agreed to compensate around 8700 customers identified by the ACCC as being subscribed to speed tier plans their connections are incapable of providing at the behest of the regulator.
This came a month after Telstra agreed to do the same for around 42,000 customers, and the ACCC has flagged that it is planning more action against other providers.
Brooks noted that the situation was already known and could have been avoided if service providers and nbn co had agreed to be more transparent about the speeds customers’ houses or buildings might achieve.
He said that in April 2014, nbn co issued a consultation papers to retail ISPs that was not made publicly available at the time and that specified that selecting the correct speed plan would be left up to the end user and provider.
According to subsequent reports, the document specifically stated that nbn co “does not intend to prevent end users and/or providers from ordering the ‘Up to 100Mbps’ speed tier for a service that would typically experience speeds of less than 50Mbps”.
Brooks said that only nbn co has the data and means to match predicted line speeds against ordered speeds, and could have prevented the problem at the time of each order had it not passed the buck on to its retail service provider customers.
Shortly after the document was issued, the ACCC stated during a Senate Estimates session that nbn co might be considered to be misleading customers if it allowed retail service providers to order speeds higher than a connection can actually achieve.
But the regulator’s actions have to date been limited to the two retail service providers. Brooks said that nbn co is now providing the data required to inform customers of the likely maximum speeds they can expect prior to signing up to a service, so customers should be informed at point of sale.
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