ACMA has found TPG, Optus, Dodo and Telstra all to be in breach of consumer protection rules regarding nbn service continuity after more than 1500 of their combined customers were left without service while attempting to migrate to the nbn.
Four related ACMA investigations into nbn migrations found thousands of breaches of nbn service continuity rules across the four telcos, including 1586 breaches due to failure to supply replacement services.
Under nbn migration rules, operators are required to provide a replacement service to customers after three working days of those customers being left without service during failed attempts to connect to the nbn.
Telstra fared best in this regard, with only 23 breaches due to failure to supply an interim service. This compares to 385 for Dodo, 550 for Optus and 628 for TPG.
Additional rules require telcos to develop a remedial plan to address the issue after 20 working days of an nbn connection still not working, and to conduct a technical audit to identify the necessary steps to complete the migration after 40 working days.
The investigation found that these requirements are also not being met. Telstra had by far the most breaches both for failing to develop a remedial plan (3230) and conduct a technical audit (843). Optus was second with 695 and 170 respectively, followed by Dodo with 165 and 31, and TPG with just 21 and 3.
“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,” ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.
“TPG, Optus, Dodo and Telstra have all let down these customers and effectively left them high and dry during the nbn migration.”
As part of ACMA’s enforcement action, all four telcos have provided court-enforceable undertakings to introduce measures to improve compliance with the service continuity rules.
They will be required to report back to the ACMA on their findings each quarter for 12 months. If still found not to be compliant, ACMA can start proceedings against them in the Federal Court.
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has welcomed ACMA’s action against the telcos.
“Telstra, Optus, TPG and Dodo are four of the country’s biggest telcos; they know the rules regarding migrating to the nbn and what they need to do to keep consumers connected. It is very disappointing that they have failed their customers by leaving them without a working internet service,” ACCAN Director of Policy Una Lawrence said.
“To have over 8000 total breaches of nbn service continuity rules is simply unacceptable. The ACMA may need to keep a closer eye on this issue as the nbn rollout finishes and many more Australians make the switch.”
Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/F8studio