Despite ongoing pressure from Retail Service Providers (RSPs), the Australian Government has requested (opens in new tab) that the ACCC not interfere with NBN Co’s current service standards until the network is completely rolled out and operational. The network is not expected to be fully up and running until some time in 2020.
The latest Wholesale Broadband Agreement (WBA3) details the conditions under which NBN Co and RSPs – that’s the companies that actually sell NBN services to consumers and businesses – are beholden to each other as far as customer satisfaction and reasonable product expectations are concerned.
However, the current agreement is under official contention via the ACCC’s ‘NBN wholesale service standards inquiry’, with all involved parties (Government, RSPs and NBN Co) making submissions for either stricter standards or more leniency.
RSPs such as Telstra are accusing NBN Co (opens in new tab) of penning “aspirational, non-binding targets” in the WBA3, which they are then unable to pass on to their customers with confidence, and as such, are demanding a penalty be put in place as a consequence of not meeting these standards.
Go easy on the poor lad
The latest submission from the Department of Communications (opens in new tab) claims that the existing rules aren’t unreasonable, and “need to be considered on their merits, and in the context of a network under construction”.
“It may be that, when the NBN is complete, stronger connection and repair timeframes could be considered,” the submission continues, further stating that “it would be appropriate for more stringent standards to apply from when NBN enters a steady-state”.
The Government also attempts to defend the infancy of the NBN as a “once in a generation event” and requests special consideration as a result, but a 2020 deadline to set new standards is at extreme odds with Telstra’s request for intervention as early as this July. It’s unlikely, then, that we’ll see an end to the bickering any time soon...