Reg­u­la­tor mulls NBN penalty

The Weekend Australian - - BUSINESS - SUPRATIM AD­HIKARI

The Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion & Con­sumer Com­mis­sion is mulling whether NBN Co should pay a fi­nan­cial penalty when it de­liv­ers a poor ex­pe­ri­ence to cus­tomers on the fixed wire­less por­tion of the Na­tional Broad­band Net­work.

The prospect of a penalty is in the reg­u­la­tor’s lat­est dis­cus­sion pa­per on how to im­prove cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence on the NBN. The pa­per is part of the ACCC’s whole­sale ser­vice stan­dards in­quiry, launched at the end of 2017, which has al­ready seen NBN Co agree to com­pen­sate tel­cos for every missed ap­point­ment or late con­nec­tion and fault re­pair.

Ac­cord­ing to the reg­u­la­tor, a re­bate could be a use­ful mea­sure in en­sur­ing NBN Co pro­vides the nec­es­sary ca­pac­ity on the fixed wire­less net­work.

“While we ac­knowl­edge that NBN Co is tak­ing steps to ad­dress con­ges­tion, we con­sider that the pro­vi­sion of a re­bate that would be payable based on each en­duser on a con­gested cell would in­cen­tivise NBN Co to en­sure there is suf­fi­cient ca­pac­ity on the net­work on an on­go­ing ba­sis,” it said.

NBN Co has al­lo­cated an ex­tra $800 mil­lion to fix con­ges­tion is­sues on the fixed wire­less net­work, which has been un­able to meet the grow­ing de­mands of con­sumers. The ACCC ac­knowl­edged in its pa­per that there were still is­sues on NBN Co’s end that needed to be ironed out.

“We share stake­hold­ers’ con­cern that NBN Co may con­tinue to charge for the higher speed prod­ucts dur­ing re­me­di­a­tion, even for lines that are not ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing that speed.”

Sub­mis­sions on the ACCC dis­cus­sion pa­per are due by Fe­bru­ary 15, 2019.

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