The Illawarra Business Chamber is today calling for the introduction of a National Broadband Service Guarantee to improve the quality of service for businesses and households under the National Broadband Network (NBN).
This follows a submission by the NSW Business Chamber to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Inquiry into NBN wholesale service standards which proposes the National Broadband Service Guarantee. The proposal includes the following measures to address major shortcomings in the rollout and operation of the National Broadband Network:
Guaranteed service standards where the business customer may be entitled to compensation for a failure to deliver to set standards.
Specifications and quality checks of installation work and coordination of works.
Connection offers containing terms and conditions relevant to the connection and service levels.
Effective management of customer site visits between parties.
Requirements to maintain service continuity when customers migrate to the NBN. Specifically, the management of the connection, disconnection and reconnection of premises, including where the disconnection has impacted non-NBN customers due to NBN work.
Dispute resolution and consultation procedures.
A compliance, performance and reporting regime underpinned by enforcement provisions which include civil penalties.
Establishment of a customer consultative group (made up of business, community and residential stakeholders) to advise on broadband impacts.
Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director Adam Zarth said that 43 per cent of businesses surveyed across the Illawarra and South Coast by the NSW Business Chamber are waiting more than 4 weeks to get internet access after a NBN service is installed, and a similar percentage are dissatisfied with their NBN service.
“In late 2017, the Chamber conducted a state wide survey of members and we found delays and disruptions in the rollout of the NBN were costing NSW businesses on average, more than $9,000,” said Mr Zarth.
“That’s simply not good enough when you consider the amount of business done via the internet. We have too many examples where businesses can’t trade or process transactions because of serious failures with broadband services.
“It is of concern that this is affecting essential services in areas such as health care, transport and security.
“The issues faced by businesses relate primarily to a lack of accountability, responsibility and cooperation between the parties involved in the provision of broadband services.
“There does not seem to be any real coordination between these parties on the management of customer outcomes, even something as simple as turning up to service appointments proves challenging.
“The introduction of a National Broadband Service Guarantee would protect businesses and ensure service providers are held to account for this essential service.
“The guarantee would be enforced by a single regulator, namely the ACCC, who would be responsible for all compliance.
“The introduction of a National Broadband Service Guarantee would result in improved collaboration in the delivery of broadband services and help reduce the frustration and confusion currently faced by consumers in resolving faults and service failures.
“Drop-outs, poor installations, and service faults are crippling for business and something needs to be done urgently to put the onus back on the parties supplying broadband services to deliver what they promise by assuming responsibility and better coordinating their efforts.”