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New regulatory powers and lower NBN prices delivering better broadband for consumers

New consumer protections, greater transparency and lower wholesale prices are delivering an improved experience for users on the National Broadband Network (NBN), Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield announced today.

The ACMA today released new rules to stop the handballing of complaints between telcos and nbn, giving the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman better tools to help resolve complaints. The ACMA will also issue new requirements for retailers to publicly release complaints statistics to help consumers differentiate between retailers based on the quality of their customer service.

“The NBN is being rolled out at such a rapid pace that around 30,000 homes and businesses are making the switch every week, and 3.6 million are already connected” Minister Fifield said.

“While the overwhelming majority of users have a smooth migration onto the NBN, we want to ensure the ACMA is a strong cop-on-the-beat, armed to protect consumers from the handballing of complaints.”

The new ACMA rules follow the announcement of a new NBN monthly customer experience progress report. The first report showed 89 percent of NBN installs are done ‘right first time’, 92 percent of installations are completed on time, and 85 percent of faults are repaired on time.

The progress report reveals NBN’s new pricing has led to a jump in users enjoying speeds of 50 Mbps and faster; and a dramatic reduction in network congestion – meaning more reliable high-speed broadband, even at peak times.

The ACMA’s new complaints-handling rules are the first of a range of consumer protections announced by the Government in December last year.

The ACMA will release additional consumer protection in coming months, requiring retailers to:

  • perform a line test to confirm a working connection at installation, and undertake a line speed test at any time if requested by a customer;
  • re-activate a service on a legacy network within a certain timeframe if an erroneous disconnection has occurred and the NBN cannot be connected;
  • explain to consumers how different speed tiers can be applied in their home or business, as well as a ‘critical information summary’ for NBN services when signing consumers to a new contract.

“The rules are designed to ensure broadband customers get the service they expect from their retail service provider as they transition to the NBN” said Minister Fifield.

The ACMA will also undertake further research into modem quality, potentially leading to the introduction of technical standards, or a modem performance rating scheme.

Media Contact:

Geraldine Mitchell | 0407 280 476 | Geraldine.Mitchell [at] communications.gov.au