NBN Co’s proposed changes to its wholesale arrangements would give consumers more affordable internet access, according to a report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The network provider proposed to gradually reduce the price of its entry-level broadband access bundle from its current price of $26.60 down to $24.70 in December 2020 and later down to $22.50 starting May 2021.
The reduced price will be implemented in NBN Co’s next Wholesale Broadband Agreement (WBA4), as well as the following changes below:
Service transfer charges were also reduced from $22.50 down to $5 while the service reactivation charge, which was previously free, will now be at $5.
Failed connections will also not incur any wholesale charges, while rebates for late connections and fault repairs will be $7.50 and $15 per business day for most customers, instead of the one-off $25 rebate. Priority assistance customers would get higher rebates.
Missed appointments will also incur bigger rebates, increasing the current $25 rebate to $50 for the first missed appointment and a further $75 for subsequent misses.
Underperforming service speeds will also get rebates and will also be measured more accurately and timely. This would also apply to business grade (TC-2) services, which cover small to medium-sized businesses.
NBN Co will also bring improvements to operational procedures and reporting arrangements.
ACCC chair Rod Sims said, “These improvements represent significant change from what was originally on offer when the ACCC’s access determination process started.”
“These new arrangements will allow for more affordable entry level products for consumers who are happy with pre-NBN speeds, and promote competitive prices for the higher speeds made possible by the NBN.”
Sims added that the higher rebates would provide stronger incentives for NBN Co to meet reasonable service standards and address individual cases of poor service.
“We will be watching NBN Co’s implementation of these arrangements very closely to ensure these measures achieve their intended objectives. This will also inform our consideration of arrangements beyond the term of the next wholesale agreement,” Sims said.
“It is important to note that the revised access arrangements do not provide a direct prohibition on NBN Co effectively reverting to a heavy reliance on short term discounts in future. The underlying concerns we have previously stated on the use of discounts remains and is contrary to the initial intention of the Special Access Undertaking (SAU), which was intended to provide a high degree of long term certainty.”