NBN Co will be forced to pay for every late appointment and missed connection as part of a new agreement with the competition watchdog.
The ACCC has agreed to a court-enforceable undertaking with NBN Co that will see it automatically pay a $25 rebate to retail service providers for every late connection and fault rectification and every missed appointment.
It’s another result from the ACCC’s ongoing inquiry into NBN wholesale service standards which was launched late last year to determine whether these standards are adequate and if regulation is required.
The rebate will be paid to the telecommunications companies, but ACCC chair Rod Sims said the undertaking includes a requirement for these service providers to ensure the consumers receive a benefit.
“Under the undertaking given to the ACCC, NBN Co will require the RSPs to continue to take reasonable steps to ensure customers receive benefit from the improved rebates the service providers will receive from NBN Co,” Sims said.
“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 comes after the ACCC handed NBN Co an interim access determination it proposed to make, and the company has now pledged to implement the new measures within three months.
NBN Co has also been required to improve its reporting to RSPs so they can better track its performance, along with extra information on the level of congestion in its fixed wireless network.
“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,” 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.”
But according to the NSW Business Chamber, the proposed rebate is “paltry”, and there needs to be a binding agreement that it will be passed on to the consumers.
According to a NSW Business Chamber survey, delays and disruptions in the NBN rollout is costing NSW businesses on average more than $9,000 annually.
“The delays and disruptions are not solely caused by NBN Co,” NSW Business Chamber chief executive Stephen Cartwright said.
“They relate to a lack of accountability, responsibility and co-operation between the parties involved in the provision of broadband services, which include RSPs. It seems these parties are simply not incentivised or forced to work together, and only a strong compliance, performance and reporting regime, underpinned by enforcement provisions, which include civil penalties and compensatory guarantees, will work.”