The Australian Communications and Media Authority has introduced a new industry standard to ensure households aren't left without internet for weeks on end while transitioning internet services to the NBN.
The new Service Continuity Standard will require that carrier service providers (CSPs) and NBN Co do not disconnect existing broadband services for customers until a new NBN service is working and has been tested.
CSPs must provide a legacy service or replacement service to customers within three working days in most scenarios if the migration is unlikely to be completed by then. The time limit is extended to five working days for urban areas and 10 days for rural areas.
If the CSP did not supply the previous service, they will have 15 working days to connect a legacy service.
ACMA chair Nerida O'Loughlin said 16 percent of households were left without internet or a phone service for more than a week when moving their services to the NBN. "Being without a service for a week or more is almost unimaginable to most of us," O'Loughlin said.
ACMA also introduced the Consumer Information Standard, which will require CSPs to provide new customers with key facts to explain the difference in plans they offer. CSPs will also have to remind customers to check to verify whether critical services like medical devices and security alarms are compatible with the NBN before migrating their services.
The organisation said 76 percent of households were aware of the difference in download speeds offered by different plans, but only 52 percent said they knew what speed their household requires.
ACMA will be able to seek remedies such as injunctions and penalties against telcos for up to $250,000 if they breach either of the two new standards.
Both of the new standards will come into effect on 21 September and will be directly enforceable by ACMA.
ACMA said it would announce further rules that will require telcos to undertake line testing by the end of July.