NBN under scrutiny

November 03, 2017

The leading consumer watchdog will take a close look at the National Broadband Network after a record number of complaints.

A public inquiry was announced by the ACCC yesterday to determine if more regulation is needed to improve customer experiences on the network.

‘‘We are very concerned about the high number of complaints from consumers around poor customer experiences, particularly in relation to customers connecting to NBN services and having faults repaired,’’ ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

The inquiry will focus on the wholesale aspect of NBN Co and the framework under which customers can get compensation when it has failed to meet service levels.

‘‘While our inquiry will focus on NBN wholesale service levels, we will examine them in the context of the supply chain. We are also concerned that some service levels at the retail level are not enforceable,’’ Mr Sims said.

‘‘If we identify other changes to aspects of the supply chain that will improve customer experiences on the NBN, we will certainly highlight them.’’

Last month a report from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman showed that NBN complaints had increased by more than 160 per cent over the past financial year from 4448 to 11773.

The ACCC will work closely with the Australian Communications and Media Authority for the inquiry and a discussion paper seeking feedback and submissions will be released next month.

Powers that the ACCC has under the Competition and Consumer Act could be used to set regulated terms and conditions for access to the NBN to improve the experiences of customers.

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