NBN Co and telcos could be forced to lift their service standards and the performance of internet services if a private member's bill from independent member for Indi Helen Haines succeeds.
Introducing her Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Faster Internet for Regional Australia) Bill, Haines said regional Australians do not receive services, either from mobile carriers nor from NBN Co, that are on a par with Australians in metropolitan areas.
She told the House of Representatives that poor service is hurting communities in her seat, like Violet Town and Wangaratta.
She claimed NBN service levels of 25 Mbps were considered to have been met, if a user’s connection reached that speed twice a day.
She also said that the government’s standard of 19 days to provision a new service in regional Australia, and up to three days to fix a network fault, were both too slow to attract new businesses to regional areas.
Her bill would impose both service standards and also reporting standards on providers.
If a new regional connection can be provisioned without needing a site visit, the bill requires it to be live within one business day, and for most other premises types, the service would have to be live within five business days.
Service faults would, under the bill, need to be rectified within one business day for urban and regional services, and two business days for remote services.
The bill also stipulates a minimum NBN download speed of 25 Mbps, a speed which has to be maintained on average, rather than being reached from time to time.