Evidence given to the NBN Committee meeting on Thursday in Redcliffe, QLD by Dr Greg Leach, senior policy advisor for Agforce confirmed that uncertainty about NBN speeds were causing Agforce members to hold back from shifting to NBN services. This confirmed evidence given in the QLD Government submission.
Without independent information about speed and reliability customers are left relying on anecdotal information. This is hampering the ability of consumers to make informed choices.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has already told the Committee it is ready to go on this, through the creation of a Broadband Performance Monitoring and Reporting program (BPMR).
Such a program would provide independent assessment of broadband quality, and accurately distinguish between the capacity of NBN infrastructure and the speeds delivered by broadband retailers.
The ACCC ran a successful pilot BPMR in 2015 and has advised government it could establish a four-year program for $7 million within 3-4 months.
As the NBN rollout approaches the halfway point, it is unacceptable for the Government to have no way of assessing the NBN rollout and to ensure we avoid a new spate of broadband buck-passing.
“There is no way of assessing and responding to systemic issues. You would hate to think the Turnbull government would compromise such a critical piece of infrastructure by avoiding proper monitoring and transparency,” said Mr Jones.
“As the NBN rollout approaches the halfway mark it is clear that fibre-to-the-node is falling short of NBN’s minimum speed standard in many areas, but there is actually no system in place to judge the real performance of the network or to hold retail internet service providers to account.”
Mr Wilson said, “Complaints about broadband have become the most common issue raised with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, yet the buck-passing between retailers and NBN Co mean that Australian households are constantly given the run-around in trying to resolve these problems.”
“There is no justification for this lack of accountability, other than the Turnbull Government wanting to cover up the poor outcomes and low speeds of its second-rate copper NBN. We need more monitoring and transparency to help people get fast, affordable broadband, and to ensure the NBN rollout doesn’t lock us into second-rate technology.”