The ACCC has today released a discussion paper for its inquiry into NBN wholesale service standards. These standards are a key part of the commercial arrangements between NBN Co and internet service providers (ISPs) that affect NBN customer experiences.
The discussion paper seeks views on the service levels that NBN Co commits to in its wholesale contracts around connections, fixing faults and appointments. It also explores issues relating to service providers’ access to rebates or compensation when NBN Co fails to meet its wholesale service commitments.
The ACCC inquiry will consider whether regulation is necessary to improve customer experiences.
“NBN is now in its peak rollout phase and the ACCC is concerned that complaints about connecting to services, including missed appointments and having faults repaired, will continue to grow unless improvements are made now," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“This inquiry will consider whether there are appropriate incentives for NBN Co to remedy service failures. We will also look at the compensation made available by NBN Co to ISPs, which are responsible for providing redress directly to consumers when things go wrong,” Mr Sims said.
“The ACCC has heard industry concerns from ISPs that the service standards aren’t adequate to ensure customers have a good experience connecting to and having faults repaired for NBN services,” Mr Sims said.
A key focus of this inquiry will be to consider whether to make a final access determination (FAD) that specifies service levels or other non-price terms and conditions. It will also consider whether interim regulated terms should be made.
Submissions are due by Friday 16 February 2018.
Further information is available at NBN wholesale service standards inquiry
Wholesale service standard levels are currently set out in commercial agreements that have been negotiated by NBN Co with its wholesale customers (retail service providers).
They include performance objectives and operational targets that apply to NBN Co’s products and services, requirements to take corrective action if service standard levels are not met, and the framework within which wholesale customers can claim compensation for retail customers or receive commercial rebates where NBN Co has failed to meet a specific service level.
NBN services are declared services under Part XIC of the Competition and Consumer Act. The ACCC has powers to set regulated terms and conditions of access to NBN services to promote the long-term interests of end users. The ACCC may consider regulatory intervention through a binding rule of conduct, an interim access determination and a final access determination.
The ACCC recently published the communications market study draft report which included 29 recommendations spanning a wide range of competition and consumer issues in communications markets.
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