Help for consumers moving to the NBN

New industry standards that were recently announced are the next step taken by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to help consumers move smoothly to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that while the majority of consumers are having a good experience in their migration to the NBN, unfortunately a number are not.

“Telcos need to step up to provide better information to their customers and make sure they are not left without a service during their migration to NBN-based services,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

Consumer Information Standard

A recent ACMA survey showed that consumers want and need the right information to choose a plan for services over the NBN that works for them. Consumers who use medical and security alarms need specific information about how these will work over the NBN.

ACMA research also showed that 76 per cent of households with internet were aware that plans were available with different download speeds. However, only 52 per cent said they know what download speed their household actually needs.

A new Consumer Information Standard will require telcos to provide prospective customers with a ‘Key Facts Sheet’ that explains different plans offered. They will also need to remind consumers to check that critical services such as medical and security alarms are compatible with the NBN before moving.

Service Continuity Standard

ACMA research showed that about 16 per cent of households reported being left without their home internet and/or phone service for more than a week when moving to services provided over the NBN.

“Being without a service for a week or more is almost unimaginable to most of us. To help avoid these situations, the ACMA has made a Service Continuity Standard,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

The new standard requires telcos and NBN Co to not disconnect existing services until a new NBN-based service is working, where that is feasible. Where there is no working service it sets time frames around reconnecting customers to their old service or offering them an interim service while their new NBN-based service is fixed.

These standards will take effect on 21 September 2018 and will be immediately and directly enforceable by the ACMA. More information is available on the ACMA website.