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ACCC undertakings relating to NBN speeds

22 December 2017

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman receives many complaints from consumers about the speed of internet services delivered over the National Broadband Network (NBN).

If you have a complaint about your NBN speed you may be entitled to a remedy under recent legal agreement (undertaking) made by your provider.

This page offers guidance on how we take into account the undertakings given to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about advertising relating to the speed of NBN services.

Who is affected by the undertaking?

Customers of Telstra, Belong, Optus and TPG who could not receive the NBN data speeds promoted and sold to them.

Which NBN technology?

The undertakings only relate to customers who purchased a data plan for speeds that could not be delivered through Fibre to the Node (FTTN) and Fibre to the Building (FTTB) technologies.

What if I am a customer with another provider or using another NBN technology type (such as FTTP, HFC, FTTC, Wireless, Satellite) and I have a problem?

You are not covered by the undertakings. If you have contacted your internet provider and are still having issues you can still make a complaint to us.

What are the undertakings?

Telstra, Belong, Optus, and TPG have undertaken to provide remedies to customers who could not receive the NBN data speeds promoted and sold to them. The undertakings require Telstra, Belong, Optus and TPG to check the maximum attainable speed of individual connections after they have been activated on the NBN.

What does ‘maximum attainable speed’ mean?

The maximum attainable speed is the highest internet speed that can be delivered to each consumer given the current technical capability of their NBN connection.

In FTTN and FTTB connections, the connection to the NBN is made using a fibre optic cable to the node and then a copper wire to the premise. In these types of connections, internet speeds can be affected by other factors including the length and quality of the copper wiring, electrical interference, and the layout of cabling.

Other speed issues that can affect the user experience

Internet speeds can also be affected by the time of day, the type and size of content being downloaded or uploaded, the number of people in a premises actively online at the same time, the way a specific provider configures their network and manages traffic (including the capacity the provider has purchased to manage bandwidth congestion).

The enforceable undertakings are only about advertised speeds

The undertakings only apply if your maximum attainable speed is less than the advertised speed that was sold to you.

For example, if you were on a plan which advertised download speeds at 100 Mbps, but your maximum attainable speed was only 60 Mbps, the undertakings will apply to you.

As explained above there may be a number of other reasons why your NBN speed is slower than expected that do not relate to the undertakings.

How the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman can help

If you wish to make a complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman about your NBN speed, we will take these undertakings into account when considering your complaint.

If you are dissatisfied with your NBN speed but your maximum speed is consistent with what you were sold, we will handle your complaint following our usual procedures. This can include looking at the causes of slow speed that are within the provider’s control.

If your complaint concerns issues that fall outside the undertaking, we will continue to handle these complaints following our usual procedures.

Optus customers

UPDATED: Optus has until 6 April 2018 to contact affected customers to explain their maximum attainable speed and to offer remedies.

If slow NBN speed is your only complaint issue and you are an FTTN or FTTB customer, we need to take these undertakings into account when considering your complaint. If you think you have been affected, please contact Optus on 133 937 or 1800 780 219.

Telstra and Belong customers

By 8 December 2017 Telstra and Belong should have contacted all of their customers the enforceable undertaking affects.

If you are a customer of Telstra or Belong, and want to make a complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, we will ask you the following questions:

  • Is slow NBN speed your only complaint issue?
  • Have you spoken to your provider about the problem? This is the first step.
    • Contact Telstra on the Consumer hotline on 1800 236 459 or the Small Business hotline on 1800 639 070
    • Contact Belong on 1800 118 214
  • Is your NBN service delivered through FTTN or FTTB? You can check your technology type using the NBN Co website: https://www.nbnco.com.au/connect-home-or-business/check-your-address.html
  • Have you received correspondence from your provider about your maximum speed and the remedies available to you?
    • If you did receive correspondence proposing a remedy, we will need to know why you believe the offered remedy does not comply with the undertaking or why you believe there is additional loss.
    • If you did not receive a letter and you believe the enforceable undertaking applies to you, then you should contact your service provider directly. 

TPG customers

By 2 March 2018 TPG should have contacted all of their customers the enforceable undertaking affects.

If slow NBN speed is your only complaint issue and you are an FTTN or FTTB customer, we need to take these undertakings into account when considering your complaint. If you think you have been affected, please contact TPG on 13 14 23 (residential) or 1300 365 313 (small business)

Actions for customers of other Internet providers

All other residential consumers or small businesses with NBN speed issues should first contact their provider. If your complaint remains unresolved, you can make a complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

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Next step?              

  • make an online complaint
  • 1800 062 058                
  • Write PO Box 276
    Collins Street West Vic 8007                            
  • National Relay Service Call on 1800 555 677 then ask for 1800 062 058            
  • Fax our consumer complaint form to 1800 630 614