Telstra speed review reveals regulatory hurdle for NBN resellers

Why Telstra’s NBN speed review revelations should put other retail service providers on high alert.

By Leon Spencer
May 12, 2017


Telstra revealed on 11 May that approximately one per cent of its National Broadband Network (NBN) customers have not been receiving the broadband speeds they signed up for.

Telstra Retail group executive, Kevin Russell, said in a blog post that the company recently reviewed the speeds its customers were receiving on the NBN.

While review found that, while the vast majority of customers had been receiving the right speeds for their plans, a "small number" of customers had not.

While the percentage of customers not receiving the right speeds on their NBN services was low, the overall number of individual customers is in the thousands.

Telstra's latest financials, for the six months ending December 2016 reported an NBN customer base of 792,000, meaning nearly 8,000 customers had been receiving slower NBN speeds than what they had been paying for.

"The fact is, like any network, speeds on the NBN vary due to quite a large number of factors," Russell said.

"Some of these factors are managed by retail service providers like Telstra. Others are designed and controlled by [the company behind the NBN rollout], nbn. Where customers place their Wi-Fi modem and how they use the internet also play a significant part," he said.

Now, the telco is moving to reimburse affected customers, ensure that end users are on the right plan for the speeds allowed by the their NBN connection and is working to provide users with more clarity and transparency around NBN speeds.

"In many cases where we believe that customers may have paid for a speed boost they haven't benefited from, we'll be reimbursing the charges," he said.

"Speeds into homes can vary due to the underlying nbn network technology, however, the precise impact cannot be determined until after connection.

"Therefore, in the first month after a customer takes up a speed boost we will also review their speeds and proactively contact them if we believe that they are not receiving the speeds they signed up for," he said.

The review's findings come despite previous efforts by Telstra to minimise confusion among end customers over NBN speeds, and the products available to them.

Earlier this year, Telstra announced that it would be providing its customers more information on the data speeds they could expect to experience after moving to the NBN.

"We made this commitment because in talking to our customers, it became clear that the different technologies behind the NBN and what determined the speeds they could get was all a bit of a mystery," Russell said.

"Many expected the speed experience would be the same for everyone no matter which service provider they chose, where they lived or what underlying technology nbn was using to connect their neighbourhood," he said.

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