As NBN complaints pile up, consumer advocates have urged Australians to treat the roll out as a chance to escape restrictive internet contracts.
Earlier this week the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman reported that complaints about the National Broadband Network (NBN) rose 147.8 per cent from the previous year, and that general NBN complaints almost doubled to 13,406.
Internet Australia CEO Laurie Patton told The New Daily he met with NBN officials last week and was convinced the organisation had committed to improving its service.
Mr Patton said improved service would add credence to the argument that consumers should shop around for a better deal when the NBN comes to their town, rather than staying with their current provider.
“I would encourage people to look to a range of Retail Service Providers (RSPs) to see what they offer because the packages do differ from one to another,” Mr Patton said.
“If you are able to access the NBN then you should look at price and differing packages offered because you’re putting yourself on the path to the getting the best future, in terms of options.”
Once a region is declared ‘NBN ready’, consumers have 18 months to move phone and internet services.
Consumers do not have to stay with their current provider and can survey the market for a new deal, effectively liberating them from telco contracts.
“The point is that there is now an opportunity for consumers to look at the market more broadly and to compare offers from a wider range of RSPs,” Mr Patton said.
“NBN is a wholesaler and any number of RSPs are the ones who actually sign up and manage the customers. The idea of the NBN model was to increase retail competition.”
One of those new players pledging to increase competition is Singapore start-up MyRepublic.
The New Daily reported earlier in November that MyRepublic was offering a “head turning” $59.99 per-month, ‘up to’ 100 megabytes-per-second, unlimited data NBN internet plan.
How to find a better deal
Mr Patton said the NBN was trying to improve how it helped consumers achieve a “better understanding” of a NBN deals.
With the NBN struggling to provide such a service, there have been a number of helpful guides for consumers to make informed decisions on NBN plans.
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has published a guide to “picking a good value NBN internet plan”.
The guide takes consumers through five stages to ensure they are getting the best deal. It also includes a table comparing what ACCAN deemed the best plans as on March 2016.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also written a guide for those moving to the NBN.
Consumer group CHOICE told The New Daily it believed the NBN roll out was a wonderful opportunity to get a better deal.
“Once the NBN is active in your area you will have to switch over within 18 months, but this gives you plenty of time to see what’s on offer from different ISPs. Doing your homework could mean some serious savings,” a spokesperson said.