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Case study: Variable NBN internet speeds

16 February 2016

The TIO received a call from Nhat, a sole trader who had started to experience slow speeds on his NBN service.

Nhat signed up for a 25 Mbps NBN service with his retail service provider. As part of his business, it was important for him to have speeds capable of sending large files over the internet. During the first few weeks of usage the service worked as expected. Then Nhat began to experience slow speeds during peak hours (particularly during Nhat’s business hours when he needed the service). On some occasions, the service was unusable.

Nhat contacted his service provider several times about the issue. The provider advised him that the issue related to network congestion and affected all consumers in the area. It said it was working on network improvements that would be completed in two weeks. However, after this time, the service remained very slow during peak hours.

Nhat contacted the provider again but could not get a commitment date on further network improvements. He requested a reimbursement of service charges incurred during the period he was not able to fully use the service, but the provider declined to do this.

With the complaint unresolved, Nhat contacted the TIO and we referred the matter to the provider. The provider worked on Nhat’s service to try to relieve the congestion.

Nhat contacted us again and told us that while the service had improved slightly, there were still significant issues during peak hours.  Further, his provider had not addressed concerns about the period he had been paying for the service while it was unusable. We progressed the complaint to conciliation because Nhat’s concerns had not been addressed by his provider.

The provider contacted Nhat and advised him that it was still working on improving congestion-related issues in the area and, while it could not give a specific timeframe for when this would be completed, it agreed to keep him informed of progress. The provider also offered to release Nhat from the contract with no cancellation fees and offered to credit the service charges incurred during the months he was unable to use the service.

Nhat accepted the credits for the period where he was unable to use the service. He decided to stay with the provider to give it an opportunity to improve the congestion-related issues. The TIO closed the complaint. 

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