Home Telecoms & NBN Labor pledges better NBN experience if it regains power
Michelle Rowland: "We will place the consumers back at the centre and give them fair rights – that is what Labor Governments do.” Michelle Rowland: "We will place the consumers back at the centre and give them fair rights – that is what Labor Governments do.” Supplied Featured

The Australian Labor Party has pledged to deliver a better experience for consumers of Australia's national broadband network, the NBN, with a plan for an NBN Service Guarantee that sets standards for fixing faults, installations and missed appointments.

A statement issued by Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland on Sunday said there would be fines imposed if service standards were not met, if the party regained power at the next Federal Election.

The Labor statement comes a couple of days after the Australian Communications and Media Authority released two standards — the Consumer Information Standard and the Service Continuity Standard — that it said would help consumers make a smooth transition to the NBN.

While the CIS would require telecommunications service providers to give would-be customers a "key facts sheet" that detailed the different broadband plans on offer, the SCS would require telcos and the NBN Co to avoid disconnecting services until a new NBN-based one was working. Both standards will take effect on 21 September.

Rowland's statement said fines would increase proportionately with downtime and appropriate compensation caps would apply.

A Labor Government would also put in place stronger penalties to protect small businesses that used the NBN "because we understand the stress and financial harm caused by the loss of telephone or Internet services", Rowland said.

The remit of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would be expanded under this policy to ensure a single line of oversight for both NBN wholesale and retail standards.

“These reforms have been designed to target underlying incentive structures that too often leave Australians stuck in a frustrating blame game, with no-one willing to take responsibility”, Rowland said.

“Our policy will make the NBN Co more accountable to retail providers, so that retail providers can, in turn, be more accountable to their customers. We will place the consumers back at the centre and give them fair rights – that is what Labor Governments do.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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