letter showing new NBN regulations proposed by acma

There’s been a lot of media attention in recent times about the problems people have had when moving from their old ADSL connections to the NBN. Consumers have had no real way of knowing what real speed of the NBN connection they’re going to get, thanks to the current government’s move to unpredictable technologies like Fibre to the Node and HFC.

The ACCC has already put the NBN on notice over customers not getting the speeds they’re paying for, and now the ACMA is going even further. They’ve drafted three new rules for all broadband providers that have a collective aim of making sure you get what you’re signing up for – and that you have some safeguards if things don’t go as planned.

The problem with technologies like Fibre to the Node is that the actual speed you can get can vary hugely, based on factors ranging from your distance to the node to the condition of the copper phone wires that run from the node to your home. Similar issues affect HFC (the old Foxtel cable) connections as well, while Fixed Wireless (used in regional areas) can have congestion problems similar to mobile phone data.

ACMA Guidelines for NBN Providers

The ACMA’s three proposed rules are:

  1. A provider has to let you know about any limitations on Broadband speed with the service you’re signing up for – including letting you know what evening speeds you can expect, and advice on what plan speed is suitable for your usage.
  2. Providers will have to make sure you’re not left without internet for an extended time while the connection is set up – and if there’s going to be a long delay, they have to give you the option to go back to your old ADSL service if possible or offer mobile broadband as a stopgap.
  3. After you’re connected, providers will have to test your connection to make sure everything’s working – and, if you ask them to, do a broadband speed test. If the speed test comes up short of what you’re paying for, the provider will need to fix it or compensate you.

These are much needed steps towards clearing up customer confusion about moving to the NBN, and they’ll mean that when you shop for an NBN plan you’ll know exactly what you’ll be getting – and have some recourse if you don’t get it.

The ACMA is accepting comments from anyone about the new rules – so if you’ve got something say or suggest, head over to their website where you can read the new rules in full and have your say to help make the NBN experience better for everyone.

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