Home Telecoms & NBN Labor plan no fix for systemic NBN, service issues: Greens
NBN Co was set up to fail by the Liberal Party, the Australian Greens claim. NBN Co was set up to fail by the Liberal Party, the Australian Greens claim. Courtesy: NBN Co Featured

The Australian Labor Party's plans for a service guarantee for those who use Australia's national broadband network, the NBN, is of little use as it does not tackle the systemic issues dogging the network or improve the customer experience, the Australian Greens claim.

Greens NBN spokesperson Jordon Steele-John said the NBN Co had been set up to fail by the Liberal Party and mere fines would do little to solve the issues around broadband access in the country.

On Sunday, Labor Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said,if the party regained power at the next Federal Election, there would be fines imposed if service standards were not met and these would increase proportionately with downtime. Additionally, she said appropriate compensation caps would apply.

But Steele-John was not impressed. “It is ridiculous that the government is paying $50 billion to NBN Co to deliver the NBN with an unreasonable and unsustainable remit of posting a profit while rolling out the network nation-wide,” he said.

“It is even more ridiculous that the Labor Party’s answer is to take money back off NBN Co for not delivering under these impossible circumstances, instead of attempting to actually fix the issues."

Rowland also said that a Labor Government would 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".

Said Steele-John: “(Opposition Leader) Bill Shorten’s Labor Party should have a vision to solve problems not only with the provider, but with the infrastructure itself to ensure Australians have access to fast, reliable Internet into the future rather than simply slapping on fines without any solution!

“The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman needs to be empowered to facilitate complaint resolution, the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Code needs to be updated to drive better customer service and industry practice and NBN Co needs to transparently review its installation practices and pricing structures.

“These are the real solutions that the Australian Greens will work to implement, instead of slapping fines on NBN Co for failing to deliver the government’s multi-technology-mix disaster.”

Labor's statement came 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.

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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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