Monday, 27 August 2018 21:51

Labor says new ACMA report shows NBN 'a nightmare for small business'


The Australian Communications and Media Authority has released a new report entitled "NBN consumer experience: Households and businesses – the end-to-end journey", and Labor sees bad news. 

The new report reveals some worrying statistics abut NBN reliability for small businesses.

Labor isn't traditionally seen as the party of small business, but when there's an opportunity to savage the Liberal Party that is traditionally seen as the party of small business, there's clearly an opportunity to strike hard – especially with the recent political leadership ructions in the government still reverberating.

The stats Labor is relying upon are as follows: 

  • Forty-two percent of small and medium businesses have complained to the NBN Co or their retail provider about poor service during connection.
  • Forty percent of small and medium businesses had NBN downtime, with nearly one in seven being left without Internet or phone for more than a month.
  • Seventy-two percent of businesses have also reported having further NBN faults with dropouts and slow speeds following initial connection.

As you'd expect, Labor states "these latest results are a clear indictment of a second-rate NBN that has been botched by this divided government.

"The competitiveness of small business will continue to suffer under non-existent leadership which has been seen under [Communications Minister] Mitch Fifield and the Liberals.

"While the Liberals have been fighting amongst themselves, Labor has been focused on consumers.

"If elected, a Shorten Labor Government has announced it will establish an NBN Service Guarantee to safeguard small businesses from excessive downtime that result from faults and delays.

"Labor’s policy will establish the right structural incentives to ensure NBNCo and retail providers are focused on delivering a better experience.

"What is clear is that this dysfunctional government must get its house in order and start putting policies in place which are focused on consumers and not themselves."

As for the ACMA, it states that its report was commissioned "to investigate the experience of households and small and medium-sized businesses moving to and using services delivered over the national broadband network".

"This report contains detailed analysis of both households and businesses, following a snapshot of findings for households published in March 2018."

"The research focused on the experience of consumers who had migrated to services delivered over the NBN in the 12 months prior to the research fieldwork – that is, those who began using their new services between:

  • November 2016 and December 2017 for households; and
  • January 2017 and February 2018 for businesses.

The ACMA concludes by stating that "improving the NBN consumer experience is a key priority for the ACMA. This research provides important evidence that has been used to inform recent telco rules to deliver better consumer outcomes and will continue to inform ACMA education and regulatory activities".

You can read more about the report and download it here

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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