The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is proposing new rules that require telecommunications companies that provide fixed broadband services to publish information about their performance and commitments to customer service.
It comes after research from the media regulator found that factors like getting faults fixed and good customers service were some of the most important to customers – outside of price – when considering a telco.
In ACMA’s consultation paper about the proposed rules, it highlighted that the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman received 42,883 complaints about home internet (both for NBN and no-NBN services) between 2019-2020. Of those, 27,689 were about connection and faults.
According to ACMA, telcos are not currently obligated to publish their customer service commitments and what resolutions they have in place if these commitments aren’t met. These solutions could be offering rebates or providing a backup modem to maintain connectivity.
The new rules ACMA is proposing are designed to help customers choose a telco based on a whole range of service factors, not just the price.
“These new rules will require telcos offering fixed broadband services to be transparent about their service commitments and remedies they are providing their customers, and report on their performance against these,” ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said in a statement.
“The commitments from telcos will provide useful information for consumers to help them choose their preferred provider and decide whether they want to stay with them over time.”
In addition to more transparency, ACMA wants to see customers benefit from the new rebate scheme NBN Co introduced on wholesale service performance.
Under the scheme, NBN Co will issue rebates to retail telcos for any service failures. And under ACMA’s proposed guidelines, the rebates will have to be passed through to customers that are affected “in monetary form or in kind.”
“As retail customers are ultimately those who are inconvenienced by service failures, such as missed appointments, it is only fair that they receive the benefits of the new NBN Co rebate scheme,” O’Loughlin added.
ACMA has opened consultation on the proposed rules, with feedback open until December 9.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider Australia.