Consumer Protection for NBN Customers is just a spectator sport under Malcolm Turnbull.
Only a fortnight ago the Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, addressed the CommsDay Summit and declared:
“So to conclude, just in case I haven't rammed home the message enough, 2017 is the year of the customer, and all of our efforts must be focussed on this.”
Recent reports show yet again the Turnbull Government is all talk and no action.
The Minister went on to pose a series of rhetorical questions to his audience about improving outcomes for consumers, making no mention of how the Turnbull Government intends to deliver on their promises.
This is what we would expect from a mildly interested spectator, not the responsible Minister.
A fundamental issue was not addressed during the Minister’s pontifications — who is accountable? And what incentive do the key players have to be accountable?
If there is no incentive, consumers will continue to be left stranded.
Reports in the Sydney Morning Herald “Broadband limbo remains as ACCC fails to break Telstra, NBN deadlock”, go to the heart of this issue.
Frustrated residents and small businesses are stuck in the middle with delays and loss of services, while the retail provider is often without leverage to progress an outcome.
When an NBN activation fails, consumers often discover no-one is willing to reconnect their existing service because key players do not have appropriate incentives to do so.
Worse still, no-one can assure them when the NBN will be connected. This leads to weeks or months of frustration, stress and, critically, no service.
Given the Turnbull Government has vacated the arena, it’s no wonder its asleep-at-the-wheel Minister doesn’t show any sign of life until journalists get on the case.
This goes to the core of Malcolm Turnbull’s failure on the NBN. What a sad indictment of his flawed second-rate network that many consumers say they just want to go back to their old ADSL service, rather than move to the NBN.
For the Turnbull Government, consumer protection has become a spectator sport.
Australian consumers deserve world-class broadband, and a united government that stands up for them when they need it.