NBN consumer experience rules: compliance approach | ACMA

NBN consumer experience rules: compliance approach

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NBN consumer experience rules

Compliance and enforcement—statement of approach

The ACMA is taking an active role in ensuring that Australians can migrate smoothly from their old telecommunications service to a service on the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Recently, we have made new rules for the telecommunications industry to ensure that consumers:  

NBN consumer experience rules: tailored rules for a point-in-time process

The NBN rollout is scheduled to be completed in 2020, with the final phase of consumer migration to NBN services occurring 18 months later. 

Although making the new rules was an important step towards improving the experience of consumers migrating to the NBN, the ACMA’s job is not done. The time-critical nature of the NBN rollout means that early and consistent industry compliance with the new rules is essential and we will continue our efforts to improve the experience of consumers through a prioritised compliance and enforcement program.

The ACMA expects carriers and service providers—whether large or small, or wholesale or retail—to take the necessary steps to inform themselves about the new rules and their business implications. Carriers and carriage service providers must plan and implement any necessary changes to their practices and compliance assurance programs.

We intend to give early and active attention to compliance with the new rules by:

  • Building industry understanding of the new rules
    Following our extensive consultations with industry during the ‘rule making’ phase, we will work to build industry awareness and understanding of the new rules.

    We have already completed a series of educational industry compliance ‘tune-ups’. We will also publish better practice guidance on specific topics related to the new rules (the first of these guidelines was published on 10 July 2018) and will be available to help carriers and service providers to better understand the new rules.

  • Monitoring industry compliance with the new rules
    We will undertake a targeted program of monitoring, audits and investigations to ensure that industry is complying with the new rules. Given the time-critical nature of the NBN rollout, we will commence its compliance monitoring as soon as the new rules commence.
  • Dealing promptly with non-compliance
    Where we identify a potential breach of the new rules, we will take prompt action that is proportionate to the risks and harms involved but takes account of the need for specific and general deterrence. Actions we take may range from formal warnings, to remedial directions and infringement notices, to initiation of proceedings in the Federal Court.

NBN consumer experience rules: compliance focus

The ACMA expects industry compliance with all elements of the new rules. However, our analysis of the risks of harm faced by consumers means we will have a particularly keen focus on verifying that:

  • retail service providers give consumers the required information about internet speeds in Key Facts Sheets and in advertising
  • both wholesale and retail service providers take steps to manage NBN migrations with minimum service disruption
  • retail service providers test NBN services within specified timeframes to ensure that they are working
  • (where required) retail service providers test that service lines are capable of delivering the speed specified in the consumer’s plan, and if not, offer the consumer a remedy
  • retail service providers do not disconnect legacy services before NBN services are working (where applicable), and (where required) provide interim services to consumers or reconnect legacy services
  • carriers and service providers in the NBN supply chain provide the required ‘reasonable assistance’ to each other to manage consumer migrations and resolve complaints—we will specifically focus on any evidence of ‘buck passing’
  • retail service providers resolve consumer complaints within the required timeframes
  • retail service providers remain accountable for their handling of consumer complaints by keeping the required complaints records and making quarterly reports to the ACMA (where applicable).

This list is not exhaustive and does not preclude the ACMA from taking action on non-compliance outside these areas.  

Reporting

The ACMA proposes to publish quarterly reports on its educational, compliance and enforcement activities.

Last updated: 18 August 2019