Home TECHNOLOGY The Highly Discriminatory Nature of the NBN

The Highly Discriminatory Nature of the NBN

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Since the onset of the pandemic, mass migration away from cities has meant that it’s even more vital for businesses to have fast fibre internet. However, the National Broadband Network (NBN) has made it extremely difficult for these businesses to equally access reliable internet with modern speeds. From the start, the NBN, a government-run taxpayer-funded network, chose saving money over supporting its people. This has resulted in discriminatory internet services to regional Australians.

To provide a level playing field for all customers wanting to access the internet, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) introduced guidelines in 2012. These provisions are aimed at preventing the NBN and retail service providers from discriminating. The NBN, however, has continued to discriminate between city and country, making it more expensive for regional businesses to access acceptable internet speeds.

New guidelines, released in 2021, are largely aimed at the unjust practices by the NBN.

The Real Cost of the NBN 

By design, the NBN provides substandard services for residential users and penalty pricing for business-grade users by way of having “city pricing” and “country pricing.”

While all businesses pay for the same service, only certain suburbs are eligible for upgrades to faster internet speeds. These upgrades go from the inferior fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) connections to the faster fibre to the premises (FTTP). The NBN decides the areas that qualify for this upgrade.

If a business is not in one of the areas, it could be looking at upgrade costs from few thousand dollars to well over 10,000 dollars. The more remote the location, the more expensive it will be to get sufficient internet speed. Some businesses will end up paying twice. First through tax dollars, and then having to pay for their own upgrade.

The ACCC telecommunications non-discrimination guidelines

The 2021 ACCC guidelines introduced provisions to protect all internet users from unfair treatment by service providers. The NBN has ignored these guidelines, continuing to provide unfair internet services to regional Australians.

The ACCC has two ways tests to determine whether these provisions are being followed.

The first way is through an explicit discrimination test. This checks to see if a provider fails to offer a customer a reasonable opportunity to get the same services, under the same terms, as anyone else.

The other checkpoint comes from an implicit discrimination test. This tests whether the services are provided in a way that might impede customers’ ability to compete in the same market.

The NBN is failing both these tests. To provide feedback on the NBN’s discriminatory practices, go to ACCC complaints website

Fibre to the People 

As they have many times before, the NBN continues to use unjust practices, despite being a government-run company. Fast internet speed is especially important for businesses, as slow or unstable internet connections can affect both customers’ and employees’. 

If you’re curious about how to unite with the internet speeds that best serve your business, sign up and get a free site qualification from our experts. Check out the rest of our website for more information on everything digital.

 

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2 Comments

  1. I live in lascelles vic.right next door is Telecom sub station.
    Aircon runs all day and night because or the hot weather we get.. so everyone in this town got internet of some sort and costs us a fortune.all we want is unlimited internet .ok so substation is in town and we got shit net please explain

    • We totally hear you and feel for your Internet struggles. Our services help businesses connect to fibre services, so if this is something your business needs, we would love to hear from you.

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