New Rule: $10m NBN Failure Penalty

It was reported that Australian ISP’s could face fines up to $10m for failing to deliver internet services for more than 6 days.

“About time” is the general reaction across media to the new rules which come into force in September 2018.

Or, as one publication jokingly asked: sometimes we wait 6 days just to report downtime.

The Herald Sun Digital Edition: $10m NBN failure penalty

Australian broadband providers could face fines of up to $10 million if customers are without internet connections for more than six days under new rules unveiled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority yesterday.

The rules, which come into force on September 21, 2018 will penalise internet companies if they fail to organise alternative connections or compensation within three days of a National Broadband Network installation, or if they fail to test the download speeds possible over the NBN’s copper connections.

The new regulations follow research from ACMA showing almost one in six households connecting to the NBN were left without service for more than a week, and close to one in 10 for more than a fortnight.

Consumer groups welcomed the rules, saying they may stop NBN users being left in “impossible” situations, but a telecommunications industry group said small internet service providers might struggle to meet the requirements.

ACMA consumer division general manager Jennifer McNeill said the new rules applied to fibre-to-the-node , building and kerb connections.

Ms McNeill said ACMA would audit service providers and use reports from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman to ensure firms complied with the rules.

“It will be important for us to act swiftly and decisively take action where there is noncompliance so the industry understands the seriousness of the rules,” she said.

ACMA could seek penalties of up to $10 million for breaching service provider rules, or up to $250,000 for breaking industry standards.

But Communications Alliance chief executive John Stanton warned there would be “challenges” due to the September deadline.

“Small providers who may not be readily able to provide mobile interim services are also likely to face challenges in complying with aspects of the new instruments,” he said.

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network chief executive Teresa Corbin said the new rules should be heeded by all internet providers.

“We’ll be watching to make sure there is compliance and there is enforcement action taken,” she said.

“Ultimately, we want to see people do have working broadband services and they’re not left alone to negotiate that.”

Sources

This article is from the July 24 2018 issue of The Herald Sun Digital Edition. To subscribe, visit heraldsun.com.au.
JENNIFER DUDLEY-NICHOLSON