New industry standards announced today are the next step taken by the ACMA to help consumers move smoothly to the National Broadband Network (NBN).
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said, ‘While the majority of consumers are having a good experience in their migration to the NBN, unfortunately a number are not.
‘Telcos need to step up to provide better information to their customers and make sure they are not left without a service during their migration to NBN-based services.’
Consumer Information Standard
‘Our recent survey showed that consumers want and need the right information to choose a plan for services over the NBN that works for them. Consumers who use medical and security alarms need specific information about how these will work over the NBN,’ said Ms O’Loughlin.
ACMA research showed that 76 per cent of households with internet were aware that plans were available with different download speeds. However, only 52 per cent said they know what download speed their household actually needs.
A new Consumer Information Standard will require telcos to provide prospective customers with a ‘Key Facts Sheet’ that explains different plans offered. They will also need to remind consumers to check that critical services such as medical and security alarms are compatible with the NBN before moving.
Service Continuity Standard
‘Our research also showed that about 16 per cent of households reported being left without their home internet and/or phone service for more than a week when moving to services provided over the NBN,’ said Ms O’Loughlin.
‘Being without a service for a week or more is almost unimaginable to most of us. To help avoid these situations, the ACMA has made a Service Continuity Standard.’
The new standard requires telcos and NBN Co to not disconnect existing services until a new NBN-based service is working, where that is feasible. Where there is no working service it sets time frames around reconnecting customers to their old service or offering them an interim service while their new NBN-based service is fixed.
These standards will take effect on 21 September 2018 and will be immediately and directly enforceable by the ACMA. For example, if a telco breaches an industry standard, the ACMA can commence court proceedings seeking remedies such as injunctions and civil penalties of up to $250,000.
These standards deliver on the December 2017 government direction to the ACMA to implement new protections for consumers.
Further ACMA actions will be announced by the end of July to establish rules for telcos to undertake testing of lines and further improve the continuity of service for customers who experience a loss of service.
‘In December, the ACMA committed to implementing a package of measures to improve consumers’ experience in moving to NBN-based services. We have already introduced rules to improve complaints-handling practices and record-keeping. These new rules will further smooth customers’ move so they can fully benefit from the new National Broadband Network,’ Ms O’Loughlin said.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media release 18/2018 - 22 June