The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from NBN Co to improve its wholesale arrangements with telecommunications retail service providers).
The undertaking was offered by NBN Co after the ACCC gave it an interim access determination it proposed to make. NBN Co offered to implement these measures into its wholesale agreements within three months.
“The undertaking will improve the rebates that NBN Co pays to RSPs for not meeting its service level timeframes for connections, fixing faults and meeting scheduled appointments,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“This will lead to improved NBN connections and fault services performance overall.”
“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. This could mean customers could receive rebates from RSPs or other benefits, such as providing a substitute service while a fault is being fixed,” Mr Sims said.
“We have had constructive engagement with NBN Co and RSPs as part of our inquiry into NBN wholesale service standards. 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.”
The key improvements to rebates include:
- NBN Co will pay a $25 rebate to RSPs for every late connection and fault rectification.
- NBN Co will introduce a new $25 rebate to RSPs for each missed appointment.
- NBN Co will simplify the process for RSPs to receive rebates and remove some conditions for claiming rebates.
NBN Co has also committed to improve its reporting to RSPs so they can more easily track NBN Co’s performance and better support consumers in congested fixed wireless cells. NBN Co will also add information about the level of congestion in its fixed wireless network to the customer experience dashboard that it publishes monthly.
“Greater transparency of the performance of NBN Co’s fixed wireless network will encourage it to continue to prioritise the upgrade of the network to increase capacity, and to improve customer experience. Such transparency will allow industry and the public to assess how well NBN Co is responding to the congestion issues on the fixed wireless network,” Mr Sims said.
NBN Co will amend its standard wholesale arrangement to reflect the undertaking to the ACCC within three months.
The undertaking was provided in the context of the ACCC’s inquiry into NBN wholesale service standards. The ACCC commenced the NBN wholesale service standards inquiry in late 2017 to determine whether NBN wholesale service standards are appropriate, and consider whether regulation is necessary to improve consumer experiences.
“This undertaking by NBN Co addresses some of the issues highlighted in our inquiry, but there are still a range of complex matters to consider. We will continue to engage with industry and other stakeholders during the next phase of our inquiry,” Mr Sims said.
The ACCC will soon release a further consultation paper and resume consultation with industry as part of the NBN wholesale service standards inquiry.