The company behind Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), NBN Co, released its new wholesale broadband agreement (WBA3) on 17 November, following more than two years of negotiations with telcos and retail service providers (RSPs).
NBN Co told ARN in early November that it was in the process of finalising the new WBA with its RSPs, which was slated to include new service performance commitments for activations and fault restoration.
The company said at the time that the new measures would be aimed at helping to "further improve the experience of end users on the NBN network”.
The measures incorporated into the new WBA include a new two-hour service level for hand-offs from NBN Co to RSPs.
Additional changes will mean that, where there is an appointment reschedule, NBN Co will notify the RSP of the reschedule within one hour of the appointment being rescheduled.
At the same time, the latest arrangements see the introduction of a new service fault rebate for RSPs where NBN Co doesn't meet fault restoration performance objectives.
“NBN Co is pleased to see the execution of an updated agreement with phone and internet providers that is designed to improve the quality and timeliness of the wholesale services it offers,” a spokesperson for NBN Co told ARN.
“The Wholesale Broadband Agreement 3 (WBA3) requires NBN Co to meet enhanced service performance commitments for activations and fault restoration that will help further improve the experience of consumers on the [NBN] access network.
“WBA3 is the result of more than two years of negotiations and discussions with our customers, the phone and internet providers. The agreement, which offers more than 50 significant, customer-friendly changes, reflects feedback from providers on how we can deliver better experiences on the network,” the spokesperson said.
The WBA3 documentation can be found here.
The new WBA, and the consultation with RSPs that led to it, has come amid a period of increased scrutiny of the network’s rollout and criticism from some quarters, as a growing number of end customers report connection and speed issues, according to the latest figures by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).
In its Annual Report 2016/17, released in October, the TIO flagged the rapid growth in the number of complaints it had received about services delivered via the NBN as a cause for concern.
This was subsequently addressed by NBN Co CEO, Bill Morrow, who said on 14 November that, “together, we are revisiting processes and making adjustments to make improvements at all service levels a priority”.
“We have demonstrated our ability to scale and deliver, and with the same determination we seek to further improve the end-to-end experience for households and businesses, from migration to use of the network,” he said.
It was revealed in November that Australia's consumer watchdog had launched a public inquiry into NBN wholesale service standards to work out whether regulation is needed to enforce the company's service agreements with resellers.