Home Telecoms & NBN ACCC to penalise NBN Co if technicians miss appointments

ACCC to penalise NBN Co if technicians miss appointments

Australian Consumer and Competition Commission chairman Rod Sims says rules will be introduced to penalise the NBN Co when its technicians do not turn up for scheduled appointments.

The head of the Australian competition watchdog told the ABC's National Wrap producer Patricia Karvelas that the rules would be introduced this year.

The chief executive of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Teresa Corbin, was quoted as saying that delays in installations or repairs would "result in much stress and detriment".

"We often hear from consumers who have service faults which last for long periods of time due to missed appointments from technicians," she said.

"When outages occur people may be unable to access government services, education and employment opportunities."

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While the quantum of the penalties has not been finalised, a figure of $25 for every missed appointment above a certain number that is acceptable has been bandied around. The penalty would go to the retail service provider.

In 2016, there were a total of 82.552 missed appointments.

The watchdog began an inquiry into the NBN Co's service standards in November which also covers missed appointments.

In its announcement, the ACCC said it would be conducting "a public inquiry to determine whether NBN wholesale service standard levels are appropriate, and to consider whether regulation is necessary to improve customer experiences".

Upping the service standards will add to the costs at NBN Co, which already bleeding red ink.

Given that the inquiry is to deal with service standards, the NBN Co expressed surprise about Sims seeming to pre-empt its findings.

A spokesman for the NBN builder told the ABC that it understood the inquiry was to decide whether regulation was needed or not.

NBN Co has not yet made its submission to the inquiry.

Photo: courtesy NBN Co


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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.