Telstra, TPG, Optus and Dodo busted for NBN rule breach

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Four of Australia’s biggest telcos have been called out for breaching industry rules, after more than 1,500 customers were stuck without internet and home phone when moving to the NBN.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has named and shamed Telstra, Optus, TPG and Dodo for each leaving hundreds of customers ‘high and dry’ during NBN migration periods. These four NBN providers are now required to comply with court-enforceable undertakings, including reporting back to the ACMA for mandatory quarterly audits.

Actions by Telstra, Optus, TPG and Dodo ignored and breached rules set out in the Telecommunications Service Provider (NBN Service Migration) Determination 2018 and Telecommunications (NBN Continuity of Service) Industry Standard 2018, two key pieces of industry legislation that outline how providers support and assist customers migrating to a new NBN connection.

Customers left without internet, phone during NBN switch

According to the ACMA, four separate investigations uncovered thousands of major policy breaches, 1,586 of which related to a failure to supply replacement services to those customers experiencing downtime when switching to the NBN.

The ACMA is quite clear about the responsibilities of broadband providers when helping customers connect to the NBN. In the event of a customer being left without internet or a phone line when switching, service providers must supply a replacement service after three working days as per ACMA policy.

If a customer has still failed to connect to the NBN after 20 working days, telcos must develop a remedial plan to resolve the problem. If a migration has not been completed after 40 working days, NBN providers must conduct a technical audit to identify the issue.

Telstra, Optus, TPG and Dodo each breached several of the ACMA NBN migration rules, including failing to supply interim services to customers, failing to advise their customers about interim services, and failing to prepare remedial plans or conduct technical audits when required.

By far the biggest offender was Telstra, with a total of 4,139 breaches of the NBN service continuity rules, including 3,230 for failing to prepare a remedial plan and 843 for failing to conduct technical audits.

Optus and TPG were the worst for failing to supply or advise customers about interim services (a total of 1,118 breaches of these rules by Optus and 1,258 by TPG), with Optus also slammed for failing to prepare remedial plans for customers with more than 20 days of NBN downtime.

In total, the ACMA recorded a massive 8,029 breaches of NBN migration rules. A breakdown of the total breaches per provider is below.

  • Dodo: 584
  • Optus: 1,998
  • Telstra: 4,139
  • TPG: 1,308

NBN Fibre to the Node installation

ACMA: major telcos ‘letting down’ new NBN customers

While some downtime isn’t unusual when first connecting to an NBN plan, going days (or even weeks) with no broadband – and no offer of a replacement or temporary internet option from your provider – isn’t okay. The fact that Australia’s biggest broadband providers have been caught out breaking ACMA rules (and failing to keep customers connected during the transition to the NBN) shows that the industry still has work to do in making the move to the new broadband network as pain-free as possible for Australians.

ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin, empathised with the hundreds of customers who were left without home internet or a phone line while making the switch to an NBN plan, noting that service outages are more severe for those who work from home or rely heavily on their home phone and broadband plans to keep in touch with loved ones.

“Many Australians rely on phone and internet services for their work and home lives, and significant disruptions can have a heavy impact on their livelihoods and wellbeing,” said Ms O’Loughlin.

“TPG, Optus, Dodo and Telstra have all let down these customers and effectively left them high and dry during the NBN migration.”

In some good news, each of the four telcos caught out in the ACMA’s investigation has since provided the communications regulator with court-enforceable undertakings, which will help to ensure compliance with NBN continuity rules going forward.

For the next 12 months, Telstra, TPG, Optus and Dodo must each conduct quarterly reviews of their own respective remedial action processes and report back to the ACMA, with any failures to comply grounds for the ACMA to start Federal Court proceedings. In addition to enforcement undertakings, the ACMA may also issue infringement notices, formal warnings, remedial actions and civil penalties.

Find a better NBN plan

Despite the horror stories, a jump to the NBN doesn’t have to be a disaster. If the NBN is finally available in your area, you’ll have up to 18 months to either sign up to a plan, or find an alternative broadband option. If you don’t want an NBN plan, you may be able to instead sign up for mobile broadband, wireless broadband or a private fibre network; however, old internet services, such as ADSL or Telstra and Optus home cable will eventually be disconnected in your area.

If you’re ready to switch – or you’re already on the NBN, but unhappy with your current plan – we’ve compiled a range of plans across four speed tiers in the below table.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

More information on moving to the NBN

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