ACCC opens inquiry into National Broadband Network chaos

By Addie Thomes

Amid record numbers of complaints from businesses and end users, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) is to investigate the wholesale service standards of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The inquiry will focus on the ability to enforce appropriate service standard levels at a wholesale level, including redress arrangements when consumers seek compensation at a retail level when those wholesale standards are not met.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said: “We will examine whether the service levels that are currently in place are appropriate and effective. This is important as what happens at the wholesale level often flows through to the retail level and affects customer experiences.”

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The telecoms Ombudsmen recently reported an almost 160% increase in complaints from consumers about their NBN service in the past 12 months, the majority in relation to delays in connections, missed appointments and fault rectification.

As the scale and pace of the NBN rollout increases, the ACCC is concerned these issues are likely to affect a significant proportion of consumers unless improvements are made now.

Sims continued: “One of the main focuses of our inquiry will be whether there are appropriate incentives for NBN Co to remedy service failures, along with the adequacy of compensation available to wholesale customers, to ensure consumers in turn are provided appropriate redress when things go wrong.”

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