The Australian Communications and Media Authority has unveiled its latest tranche of proposed regulations designed to protect consumers during the migration to the National Broadband Network.
The communications regulator today begun consultation on three new regulations, including one that would compel a telco to conduct a line test after a customer migrates from the copper network to the NBN.
Within one day of an NBN service begin activated, a telco would need to test whether the broadband or voice service is operational.
Under the proposed regulation, for technologies such as fibre to the node (FTTN) that can deliver varied performance depending on factors such as the length of copper used to connect a household, a telco would be obliged as soon as practicable to test the performance characteristics of a connection.
If a line can’t support the NBN speed tier associated with a customer’s plan, the telco will not be able to begin charging them for the broadband service (at least, not straight away). The retail service provider (RSP) instead will be obliged to offer them options such as shifting to a lower speed plan.
The ACMA proposal follows a series of agreements reached by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission with Australia’s biggest NBN retailers to offer refunds to tens of thousands of NBN customers.
Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG (and subsidiaries iiNet and Internode) agreed to offer compensation to customers who purchased FTTN and fibre to the basement (FTTB) services that had speed tiers that exceeded what their lines were capable of.
Under the ACMA proposal, consumers will also be able to request a line test.
Two other regulations proposed by the ACMA cover the information that telcos will be required to give to potential NBN customers and allow households to request to be temporarily switched back to legacy telecommunications services or an alternative such as mobile broadband if there is a problem during the NBN migration process.
Full details of the proposed regulations are available from the ACMA’s website.
The ACMA in March revealed proposed complaints-handling rules for NBN services.