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Australian Broadband Guarantee
The Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG) program ended on 30 June 2011.
However, the rights of existing ABG customers are not affected, including the right to a three-year offer of service without any increase in the monthly price of the service supplied. For more information about customer rights, see below.
For further advice about broadband service availability, contact the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy via a free call on 1800 883 488 weekdays between 8.30 am and 5.00 pm (eastern time) and a consumer support officer will be happy to help you.
NBN Co Ltd is providing an interim satellite service through its retail service providers from 1 July 2011. This service initially targets those customers without access to a commercial metro-comparable broadband service. Eligible customers are able to register from 1 July 2011. For further information please call the NBN Co Information Line on 1800 881 816 or go to the NBN Co website:
About the Australian Broadband Guarantee
The Australian Broadband Guarantee (ABG) was an Australian Government initiative designed to help residential and small business premises access high-quality broadband services regardless of where they were located. The program targeted premises unable to access commercial metro-comparable services, particularly those living in remote parts of Australia.
Under the ABG, a metro-comparable broadband service was defined as any service that offered a minimum 512 kilobits per second download and 128 kilobits per second upload data speed, with three gigabytes per month data usage at a total cost of $2500 GST inclusive over three years (including installation and connection fees).
Information for existing ABG customers
There are a large number of protections that all registered providers must offer customers with their registered services. These are:
- detailed information about the customer contract terms and conditions that apply to your ABG service plan
- a three-year offer of service without any increase in the monthly price of the service
- excess data charges capped at no more than five cents per megabyte
- independent testing of service speeds and network availability
- a minimum three-year warranty period for the customer premises equipment
- movement between registered services and any commercial services that may be offered
- free-of-charge help desk support, free-of-charge 24/7 fault reporting and commitments to connection and repair time frames.
Your contract contains core ABG terms and conditions, required standards of service and other consumer protection measures. Providers may have added other commercial terms and conditions in your customer contract as long as these are consistent with the ABG guidelines, comply with all relevant Commonwealth, state, territory and local government legislative requirements and applicable industry codes. Each provider’s standard customer contract, and any changes, must have approval by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy before it is offered to customers.
You can change your service plan to a plan with greater data usage or data speed—subject to the terms and conditions in your customer contract. The provider’s charges must be reasonable, must reflect the administrative cost of transferring customers between service plans and must be detailed in the customer contract, which must have approval by the department.
Your provider may also offer commercial broadband services not registered under the program. If you move to one of these commercial services, the provider is not obligated to provide the same terms and conditions that they offered for the ABG service. You can move back to a registered ABG service at any time over the three-year period of the service offer.
Depending upon your contract with the provider, it is possible you may ‘churn’ (transfer a service) to another ABG provider. For services that are connected under the ABG, providers must not charge customers churn fees. If you churn between providers you will be treated as a commercial customer of your new provider and the specific additional ABG customer protections will no longer apply. In order to better understand your options, you can contact the department via a free call on 1800 883 488 before cancelling your service or churning to a new provider.
Ownership and responsibility for equipment provided with your ABG service will be detailed in the terms and conditions of your contract and will vary among different providers. Under the ABG 2010–11, a supplier must provide a warranty of at least three years for equipment—modem, receiver dish and wiring. Providers must also arrange timely and appropriate servicing of the equipment at no cost during the warranty period, unless the customer could reasonably have prevented the failure.
For customers in remote locations, providers must arrange timely and appropriate servicing at no cost during the first year of the warranty period. Providers may charge the customer for reasonable travel costs to perform warranty repairs and maintenance as required. In this situation all parts and labour costs are covered by the three-year warranty. Providers can only charge customers for the travel component, including accommodation if required. Providers must have told remote customers before connecting the service that reasonable travel costs for servicing might apply and have inserted a clause to that effect in the terms and conditions. The department did not require providers to offer the three-year warranty to customers connected under previous programs, though providers may have chosen to do so.
Over the first half of the 2011–12 financial year, the department will deploy a number of new testing devices in a sample of ABG customers’ premises to more accurately simulate the actual customer experience. The devices are currently under development and are expected to become available from September 2011. The department will provide further details at that time. The department will also continue to closely monitor the network performance of registered providers, to ensure that service performance is adequate, including during peak usage periods.
Providers are encouraged to continue to offer broadband services to consumers after the expiry of the three-year ABG service plan period and to maintain the same terms and conditions. However, there is no obligation for them to do so.