NBN wholesale service standards inquiry enters next phase

7 December 2018

The second phase of the ACCC’s NBN wholesale service standards inquiry will consider whether regulation is needed to improve customer experience.

NBN wholesale service standards are a key part of the commercial arrangements between NBN Co and retail service providers that affect the services to NBN customers.

A discussion paper, released today, highlights several issues to be considered, informed by feedback so far received by the inquiry and latest developments in the sector.

It follows the ACCC’s acceptance of an enforceable undertaking from NBN Co to improve the availability of service rebates and reporting under its current wholesale agreements with telecommunications retail service providers (RSPs).

“The improved NBN wholesale rebates terms will soon be in effect. We will be monitoring the impact of these terms to ensure they give the right incentives for NBN Co to meet its service level commitments and ensure that consumers are better off,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.

“The enforceable undertaking addressed some of the more pressing issues, affecting customer experience, but there are still several complex issues to consider, which we are looking at in this second part of the inquiry.”

The discussion paper sets out matters where regulation might be needed. It should also inform discussions between NBN Co and RSPs on the next version of the wholesale agreements set to take place over the course of 2019.

The ACCC is seeking feedback on five key issues:

  • Aspects of the rebate framework that were not addressed as part of the enforceable undertaking
  • Information regarding speed and performance issues
  • Wholesale support for retail consumer safeguards and regulatory obligations targeted at the retail level
  • Information and reporting of operational outcomes
  • Matters relating to liability and third party claims against NBN Co.

Further information about the inquiry is available at NBN wholesale service standards inquiry.

Submissions can be made by 15 February 2019.

Background

Wholesale service standards are currently set out in commercial agreements that have been negotiated by NBN Co with its wholesale customers.

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.

On 2 November 2017, the ACCC commenced a public inquiry to determine whether NBN wholesale service standard levels are appropriate, and consider whether regulation is necessary to improve consumer experiences.

The ACCC released the first discussion paper on 18 December 2017 seeking feedback from interested stakeholders. The discussion paper seeks stakeholder views on some specific matters, although the ACCC welcomes stakeholder views on any matter relating to NBN wholesale service levels.

On 12 September 2018, the ACCC announced it had accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from NBN Co to improve its wholesale arrangements with RSPs after the ACCC had proposed to make an interim access determination. This included commitments to offer improved on service rebates and reporting available to RSPs from December 2018.

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.

Release number: 
254/18
ACCC Infocentre: 

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