ACCC braces for poor-performing NBN services

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ACCC braces for poor-performing NBN services

Expects complaints over internet, voice quality.

The ACCC is bracing for complaints over the performance of internet and voice services as NBN connections become mainstream.

Speaking to the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce yesterday, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the consumer watchdog "expect[s] more potential misrepresentations in relation to speed claims" as more users take up NBN connections.

"Given the promise of the NBN, it will be tempting to many to oversell its performance," Sims said.

"The quality of services consumers receive will depend on both NBN Co and ISPs.

"A lack of performance can be due to either inadequate NBN investment or, possibly more likely, by an ISP not buying enough capacity from the NBN to support the product it is selling."

Sims also issued a general warning to consumers to potentially expect inferior voice services in an NBN world.

"There will, of course, be high quality dedicated voice-only services offered on the NBN, and we would hope most consumers have few issues," he said.

"ISPs will, however, offer a range of different voice products ... which may be of varying quality depending on whether dedicated priority or capacity is given to them.

"Consumers therefore need to understand that the quality of voice services they have long been used to may not be provided with all voice services offered on the NBN."

Sims also used his speech to back Telstra's recent moves to manage network congestion via internet service pricing.

Telstra had initially sought for congestion to be priced into the wholesale ADSL rates, but that was scotched by the ACCC last month on the basis that such actions should be pursued internally by telcos rather than via regulated price mechanisms.

Sims effectively supported the ACCC's broader position, as long as customers were made aware of exactly what traffic management meant for their services.

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