The rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) has accelerated rapidly, with retail service providers (RSPs) moving millions of Australians to the new network across fixed line, fixed wireless and satellite technologies.
The NBN is a wholesale-only broadband communications network. NBN Co Limited (NBN Co)—the company building the NBN—does not directly provide services to end users. End users acquire their phone and internet services delivered over the NBN from RSPs. RSPs set service offerings and pricing and have the direct contractual relationship with their customers. There can be confusion in terminology arising from this complex supply chain. The ACMA has included definitional terms in this report to assist the reader.
As the number of consumers migrating to services delivered over the NBN has increased, so too has the number of reports of consumer problems. Reported problems include issues around connection of services and subsequent faults and performance issues.
In August 2017, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), in coordination with the Department of Communications and the Arts (DoCA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), announced an increased focus on the problems some consumers face when migrating to and using services delivered over the NBN.
The focus of this work was to gain a clear and comprehensive set of information to achieve a better understanding of the type, incidence and causes of these problems. We began an information-gathering program of work, which included several elements:
- seeking information using our regulatory powers to obtain information from industry participants across the supply chain
- reviewing the online information provided by all RSPs offering services delivered over the NBN to customers, including information on Critical Information Summaries
- conducting consumer research with households and businesses about their experience before, during and after the migration of their landline and/or internet services delivered over the NBN
This report presents the research findings on the reported experience of both residential households (households) and small and medium-sized businesses (businesses) connecting to and using services delivered over the NBN. The research covered those who had migrated to services delivered over the NBN in the 12 months prior to the research fieldwork, that is, those who began using their new services between:
- November 2016 and December 2017 for households
- January 2017 and February 2018 for businesses
The findings reflect consumers’ reported experience with the end-to-end migration process. In some instances, consumers were asked about their experiences with individual parties in the supply chain and these are noted where appropriate.
In this report, ‘consumers’ describes both households and businesses. Detailed data is reported separately for households and businesses.