NBN to be forced to pay up for bad broadband service

Watchdog orders NBN to lift its game on internet delays and faults.

Penalties for slow internet speeds

In a major win for dissatisfied national broadband customers, the consumer watchdog has forced NBN Co to lift its game and offer rebates or alternative services when it fails to meet internet promises.

The internet infrastructure company has agreed to pay penalties each time its wholesale arrangements cause retail service providers (RSPs) to delay connections or repair faults for customers.

The court-enforceable undertaking was extracted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after the first part of an inquiry into below-par wholesale services that have bedevilled the rollout of faster broadband around the nation.

“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 yesterday.

“This will lead to improved NBN connections and … performance overall.”

NBN Co said it would implement the new measures within three months.

Mr Sims added: “Under the undertaking … 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.

“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 new measures mean NBN Co will:

  • pay a $25 rebate to internet providers for every late connection and fault rectification
  • introduce a new $25 rebate to retailers for each missed appointment
  • simplify the process for retailers to receive rebates and remove some conditions for claiming rebates
  • improve its reporting to providers so they can more easily track NBN Co’s performance and better support consumers in congested fixed wireless cells
  • 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,” Mr Sims said.

“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.”

The ACCC will continue with its inquiry to resolve other issues not addressed by the new measures.

The watchdog will soon release another consultation paper as part of the NBN wholesale service standards inquiry. Further information about the inquiry can be found at NBN Co.

Are you still having problems with your NBN connection? Do you think the potential penalties NBN will have to pay for poor performance are enough?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    13th Sep 2018
    Will this be any different to the laws already in place where telcos are supposed to pay compensation when they do terrible things to their customers.
    We were savaged by Optus a few years ago and there are legislated laws. Nothing happened. Optus refused to pay the mandated compensation and the Mitch Fifield did not answer correspondence.
    So what is the value of this 'new' law? I'd say the same as the last one. Zip. All feel good lies to con people. When we find out it's too late and the media will rarely run with it.
    Don't believe it. It's a feel good story. Nothing more.
    Old Geezer
    13th Sep 2018
    What about those hideous contracts they expect you to sign to have the NBN connected? It's about time they were banned.
    13th Sep 2018
    I saw no contracts and signed none - who was this with??
    14th Sep 2018
    What contract was that, I can leave at any time with no penalties
    13th Sep 2018
    Let's face it; there would not be a problem if Turnbull (while minister in charge of communications) had not changed the NBN proposal from fibre to the house to use outdated and rotting copper wiring. His apparent lack of understanding has left Australia with crap NBN while it could and should have had a world class internet service. Had the NBN been left as designed and initially implemented, we would not be seeing all these complaint/explanation articles.
    Old Geezer
    13th Sep 2018
    Turnbull had to change it because it became very difficult and expensive to put fibre to the premises. Wireless technology is already faster now so it is already outdated so looks like Turnbull made the right decision.
    Karl Marx
    14th Sep 2018
    I just had NBN connected to the house, fibre to the house & inside to the modem but I live in Thailand and not a more advanced Western country like Australia lol & for mid speed 4G (5G already not far off) less than $23/month with unlimited upload, download.
    Turnbull was wrong changing the NBN. It wasn't any faster than my ADSL2 when I had it.
    If Wireless technology is already faster then why the hell are they still rolling out wires for NBN, because it's most likely dearer again I suppose & still only in the test stage.
    14th Sep 2018
    OG - you have no idea about the technology, wireless MAY be faster currently but as more customers use it the slower it will get.
    The main problem though with wireless is reliability - just like mobile phone connections dropouts WILL occur more often than a fixed line system. Weather also plays a part with wireless, hard wired connections of any type for any purpose are always better than wireless.
    13th Sep 2018
    Sounds good in theory. $25 for stuffing me around (each time)
    I should put it on Telstra hey guys guess how much you owe me ...$$$$$$
    13th Sep 2018
    Make it less confusing for the elderly to understand that they will have to switch over whether they wanted to or not. Simple explanations of what people need to do. My neighbour struggles to understand that to be able access her phone which she needs for emergency calls that she would have to go on to the NNB line, Secondly contracts with certain companies are expensive and a rip off, Should be able to have a free trial period with companies on the NBN
    Old Geezer
    13th Sep 2018
    I struggle to understand those contracts too as it seems to me like their is nothing in them for me and I am backed into a corner and have no real choice.
    14th Sep 2018
    I still have not applied to connect to NBN as I wanted the kinks ironed out as far as possible. Have heard some real horror stories. I don't have much longer to organise it, but I am very unwell at present with heart issues and can't cope with the stress of it all. It would be good to have someone who speaks Australian to walk me through it all.....sorry if that sounds racist, it's just that I get a headache trying to understand some of these people.
    14th Sep 2018
    Patti - you may have heard some horror stories (maybe a lot of exaggerations) but keep in mind that as at Sept 6th 4.3 million premises have been connected to the NBN and there are only a very small percentage with issues. Just think about it, 4.3 m houses/businesses, that's a lot of working systems with very happy consumers. I personally don't know of anyone with issues, they all have great working NBN.

    I hope you can find someone to help you with the NBN, friend, relative, a little hard for me to do using this forum.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles