The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has made a draft decision to shift the NBN rebate system that was introduced last year from a one-off payment to a daily penalty, in addition to boosting the amount of the rebate.
Under the draft decision out for comment until November 1, the size of the rebate for missed appointments by the NBN would increase from AU$25 to AU$75, the rebate charged for late connections and fault repairs would move to accrue daily, and a AU$20 rebate would be introduced for users of fixed wireless connected to a congested cell.
“It’s unusual for a monopoly telecommunications network operator of NBN Co’s scale not to be subject to regulated service standards,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.
“We have heard long-standing concerns from consumers about how frustrating, inconvenient, and costly these issues can be. We need to see more action from NBN Co and RSPs, especially now that the NBN rollout is entering its final stages.”
In its draft decision [PDF], the consumer watchdog said NBN’s existing service standard arrangements are not sufficiently robust.
“The absence of strong service level commitments supported by effective incentives have led to poor service performance outcomes and corresponding consumer harm,” the ACCC said.
“The inquiry has revealed that NBN Co’s current service standards do not necessarily align with the obligations that are already in place at the retail level.”
Despite flagging a lift in the amount paid in rebates, the ACCC said it did not want a “general pass through requirement” that would force retailers to hand rebates to customers, with the one exception being missed appointment rebates.
The ACCC said NBN needed service commitments on a per-service basis instead of the aggregate basis it previously had.
“We consider that aggregate performance objectives limit incentives to drive improvements beyond the performance objective, and can hide pockets of very poor performance where performance is averaged out,” it said.
The new rebate structure is likely to be welcomed by the nation’s telcos, with Telstra, Vodafone, and Vocus previously stating displeasure with rebates being a one-off payment.
“Rebates are a once-off AU$25 payment whether NBN Co misses a service level by one day or one month, yet clearly the customer experience in the latter scenario is much worse,” Telstra argued.
“This lack of a time element in the rebates does not appropriately allocate risk and responsibility between NBN Co and RSPs, nor does it incentivise NBN Co to connect a service or rectify a service fault in a timely manner.”
The NBN has previously rejected calls for a fixed-wireless rebate, saying it has already addressed the congestion issue through its AU$800 million fixed wireless network capacity upgrade and changes to its “network spectrum configuration”.
The draft decision from the ACCC arrives in the midst of NBN conducting a wholesale pricing review, with the national broadband wholesaler flagging the introduction of three new plans at the top end of its pricing structure, all with lower upload speeds than its existing plans at those tiers.
The three plans offer 100Mbps download speeds, 20Mbps of upload; 250/25Mbps; and 1000/50Mbps. While the first of the trio will be available across all of NBN’s fixed line technology, the latter two are currently slated to only be available on fibre-to-the-premises and HFC networks, with fibre-to-the-curb being considered.
The whole cost of the new plans, respectively, will be AU$58 per month for 3.75Mbps of included capacity, AU$68 per month with 4.75Mbps of included capacity, and AU$80 per month with 5.75Mbps of included capacity.
The included capacity would be bumped up by 0.25Mbps for all three plans in May 2021.
The ACCC said it expects its decision will complement NBN’s wholesale negotiations with retailers.
“These proposed regulated terms will establish baseline service standards, while allowing parties freedom to bargain on specific terms,” Sims said on Tuesday.
“We expect NBN Co and other service providers to identify more improvements that will benefit consumers.”
In response, NBN said it has “every incentive” to improve its levels of service.
“It’s in our best interest for customers to join the network as early as possible, stay connected, and ultimately take up higher value services over time,” an NBN spokesperson said.
“However, we are concerned the draft determination announced today by the ACCC will not drive the right improvements in customer experience and could lead to unintended consequences.”
Updated at 3.03pm AEST, 1 October 2019: Added NBN comment.
TIO sees an increase in complaints about NBN services
However the numbers are sliced and diced, complaints about the NBN are up in absolute and relative terms.
Ziggy Switkowski reappointed as NBN chair
Meanwhile, the NBN has been touted by the government as boosting Australia-wide productivity.
NBN connectivity expands to ATMs, traffic, transport, and environment infrastructure
Network Extensions will initially only be available on fibre-to-the-node.
NBN pricing paper proposes new 100/20, 250/25, and 1000/50Mbps tiers
The 250Mbps and 1Gbps plans would only be available on fibre-to-the-premises and HFC networks.
Vocus hoping ACCC can solve broadband affordability if NBN cannot
Vocus CEO Kevin Russell attacks the CVC as a download tax, saying the market value of NBN is far less than what it had cost to build.
This Brand Makes The Worst Android Phones, According To 27% Of People We Polled
Most respondents who participated in our poll seem to earnestly believe that Xiaomi makes the worst Android phones out there. More than 27% of the polled users think Xiaomi deserves this particular crown. On the face of it, the poll results seem grossly unfair towards Xiaomi, given that the company doesn’t even sell its phones to U.S. consumers. There is no denying, however, that Xiaomi needs to do a lot to change its brand perception in the U.S. if they ever plan on releasing smartphones in North America (again, that is).
With more than 21% of the votes, a virtually unknown smartphone brand for U.S. consumers comes in second place. The brand in question here is Realme — a sub-brand owned by OPPO. Realme is a very popular smartphone brand in Asia and is known mainly for its value-for-money devices that usually compete against similarly priced alternatives from Xiaomi.
Another smartphone brand that is in desperate need of a brand overhaul is Google. More than 18% of polled people thought Google makes the worst Android phones. That’s a lot of brickbats for a company behind the software that powers Android phones. The less favorable opinion seems to stem from a long list of issues that troubled the Google Pixel lineup.
Samsung and OnePlus find themselves in the last two places on this list with 17.23% and 15.54% of the votes, respectively. It could be that the other brands are simply less popular in the minds of U.S. citizens, or it could be that Samsung and OnePlus really and truly make the best Android phones — what do you think?
Lincoln Model L100 Concept Is Hyper-Luxury Electrification With Wild Doors And A Disco Floor
Certainly, the exterior of the Model L100 Concept is memorable. Lincoln describes it as “the tension between exuberant elegance and subtle restraint,” and it’s clear that aerodynamics have played a big role in deciding the overall silhouette. We’ve seen how that chase for slipperiness through the air can lead to electric cars looking like relatively amorphous blobs, though that’s something Lincoln manages to avoid.
Instead, it plays with light, glass, and scale. The Model L100 Concept hunkers low to the ground, with a glass panoramic roof and reverse-hinged doors to add drama as well as make entering and exiting more straightforward. Sensors track the owner’s approach, meanwhile, with the promise of a curated light show both outside and inside. Then, the doors — which extend all the way back to the rear bumper — gape outward, while the entire glass roof section lifts up.
The concept is finished with a satin digital ceramic tricot metallic paint, shifting between cool blue and soft white. Instead of the traditional chrome, frosted acrylic has been used as a more sustainable alternative. The whole floor of the cabin, meanwhile, is one big digital panel capable of showing shifting graphics, colors, and patterns.
Here’s How Drones Could Change The Medical Industry
UKRI’s program also has major implications for the medical industry in particular, both in terms of its future sustainability as well as efficiency. University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) Director Phil Woodford told BBC the Future Flight Challenge could help reduce traffic, pollution, and transport sensitive medical supplies, all at the same time. The project’s first phase will start with drones traveling between the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Wesmorland, and Furness General Hospitals in Cumbria, using a dedicated 250ft airspace. Based on routes in Google Maps, the average driving distance of such trips more or less range from 20 to 40 miles.
The thing is, current means of delivering medical samples in Lancashire involves traveling to different hospitals several times a day using vans, taxis and motorcycles. Compared to such rudimentary means of travel, which Woodford said takes an hour or more depending on traffic, using medical drones are said to shorten the overall trip to just 15 minutes. Woodford argued that medical drone deliveries can make the process faster, safer, and doesn’t put unnecessary load on drivers and the environment. While drones have proven to be quite handy in space, properly integrating them on Earth’s busier air space is another story. Fortunately, the project is building a roadmap to tackle just that.
This Brand Makes The Worst Android Phones, According To 27% Of People We Polled
Most respondents who participated in our poll seem to earnestly believe that Xiaomi makes the worst Android phones out there....
DoorDash is ending its delivery partnership with Walmart – TechCrunch
DoorDash is ending its partnership with Walmart after more than four years of delivering the retail giant’s products to customers....
Rivian has dropped its cheapest trim level due to low customer demand – TechCrunch
Rivian is discontinuing the cheapest trim level of its all-electric truck and SUV known as the Explore package due to...
Kia EV6 GT Packs 576 Electric Horses And A Drift Mode
You might not associate Kia with performance vehicles, but with 576 horsepower on tap, the new EV6 GT unveiled during...
Scientists are figuring out how to destroy “forever chemicals”
Enlarge / How long do we really need chemicals to last? PFAS chemicals seemed like a good idea at first....
Social4 months ago
Web.com website builder review
Social3 years ago
CrashPlan for Small Business Review
Gadgets4 years ago
A fictional Facebook Portal videochat with Mark Zuckerberg – TechCrunch
Cars4 years ago
What’s the best cloud storage for you?
Mobile4 years ago
Memory raises $5M to bring AI to time tracking – TechCrunch
Social4 years ago
iPhone XS priciest yet in South Korea
Security4 years ago
Google latest cloud to be Australian government certified
Social4 years ago
Apple’s new iPad Pro aims to keep enterprise momentum