NBN faces inquiry after 'concerning' increase in complaints

With NBN complaints on the rise, the ACCC has announced a review of NBN's wholesale service, saying its standards directly affect our experience online.

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Australia's top consumer watchdog has announced a public inquiry into NBN 's service standards to ensure Australians are getting the best possible experience when they switch to and use the NBN.

The ACCC announced the public inquiry Thursday, with chairman Rod Sims saying he was "very concerned" about complaints that have risen from consumers about poor experiences connecting to the NBN and having faults repaired.

Last month, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman released its annual report, which showed a 160 percent increase in complaints about the NBN, directed at both NBN itself as well as internet service providers.

The average Australian gets access to the national broadband network through their ISP (not NBN itself). However, as a company, NBN is responsible for providing this wholesale network to these telcos. It's a relationship that often causes confusion for consumers and can lead to NBN and ISPs passing the buck when there's a fault.

Watch this: Why your NBN is so slow -- explained with toy cars!

The ACCC is hoping to address some of those problems with this inquiry, focusing on NBN's role as a wholesaler. The end goal? Getting a better result for customers using the NBN at home or at work.

According to Sims, the ACCC will be pushing for transparency around NBN's level of service as well as clear consequences when standards are not met.

But because of the complicated nature between wholesaler (NBN) and retailer (your ISP), Sims says the review will need to take the whole picture into account.

"While our inquiry will focus on NBN wholesale service levels, we will examine them in the context of the supply chain," said Sims. "We are also concerned that some service levels at the retail level are not enforceable. If we identify other changes to aspects of the supply chain that will improve customer experiences on the NBN, we will certainly highlight them."

You can read more about the inquiry and the ACCC's plans to release a consultation paper next month here.

NBN was contacted about the inquiry but did not provide a comment.

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