Remote NBN satellite users may face connection fees

NBN is considering slugging its satellite customers with a AU$15 re-connection fee, while its metro customers continue to get connected to the network for free.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

NBN may charge its retail partners AU$15 per re-connection inside its satellite footprint, and more for customers that are outside of mainland Australia and Tasmania.

The proposed charges were flagged by NBN on Monday as part of its discussion with industry in its product development forum, and first noticed by NBN watcher Kenneth Tsang.

Under the proposed fees, every customer outside of the fixed-wireless, fibre-to-the-node/building, and hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) footprints would be hit with a AU$15 connection fee should they disconnect their service for moving house or suspending a connection, similar to the AU$59 charge Telstra applies to re-activate a service.

The company formerly known as NBN Co said it is considering this charge to "promote cost recovery on the long-term satellite".

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would have two years to assess the fee if NBN decides to implement it, ZDNet understands.

Customers would face fines for late cancellations or missed appointments from November 4, 2015, under the proposal, from between AU$150 and AU$225, depending on their location.

NBN also revealed that it is considering "incidental charges" for so-called Limited Access Region customers. ZDNet understands that this applies to customers based outside of mainland Australia and Tasmania, who cannot be reached by road. These customers are not currently covered by the interim satellite service.

The costs would be AU$1.40 per kilometre travelled, AU$98 per hour per installer for travel time, and AU$98 on-site charges. There would also be other costs incurred for car hire, travel, accommodation, and equipment rental.

A spokesperson for NBN confirmed that the charges were being discussed, but said "no final decision has been made".

"We're seeking feedback from the industry via our product development forum. We'll take this into consideration before publishing the final product construct paper," the spokesperson said.

The first of the two long-term satellites, known as SkyMuster, is due to be launched later this year before services are activated in 2016.

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