The ACCC Might Regulate NBN Wholesale Services

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The NBN is around about half done, but that also comes with a massive jump in complaints to the TIO over the last year. The ACCC is on the case, and it might end up regulating the standard of services agreed on between NBN and the retail service providers (RSPs) that deliver you your high-speed broadband.

The ACCC's Rod Sims makes the point that a lot of the customer complaints made in the TIO's latest apocalyptically bad results aren't due to issues directly related to the RSPs providing end-user NBN services. They're problems arising from the agreements made between NBN Co and the RSPs that muddy the waters on responsbility and make it unclear who should fix problems when they arise.

“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.”

Most of the complaints to the TIO were related to installers and engineers missing appointments, connection problems and ongoing faults with already connected premises -- and both NBN and the ISPs handball problem cases to each other as the wholesale service level agreements do not clearly lay out which of the parties is responsible for rectification work.

Labor MP Michelle Rowland unsurprisingly welcomed the ACCC's move: "The company has become a law unto itself and this not sustainable. Retail providers are accountable to their customers and the TIO -- but it's not clear who NBN is accountable to."

The end result will be, at the very least, a discussion paper released in December, and the inquiry itself will conclude in December of next year. [ACCC]

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