NBN Complaints Soar 200%, Govt Review Triggered

Clarence Valley residents can look forward to faster internet in coming months

Clarence Valley residents can look forward to faster internet in coming months

The ACMA's new rules will require line tests on NBN services, reconnecting customers to legacy services where the NBN is unusable, providing minimum information to consumers, and reporting complaints data to the ACMA.

Where 4.5 complaints were received for every 1000 activated premises during the second half of 2016, that figure rose to 6.7 in the second half of 2017.

The number of Australian homes and businesses experiencing 50Mbps NBN speeds has quadrupled in the past year.

The TIO is an industry-funded organisation that aims to help resolve disputes between consumers or small businesses and their phone and internet providers.

Complaints about services running on the NBN were not broken down by consumer versus small business, but the overall incidence of NBN-related complaints has increased faster than the growth in connected premises. "Additionally, the wider issues relating to phone or internet problems such as debt management are concerning".

Complaints about services delivered over the National Broadband Network increased 203.9 per cent to 22,827 on the same period in 2016.

She added that a number of initiatives around broadband speeds are "bearing fruit" and that speeds - even during peak hour - are often exceeding advertised speeds, citing the recent ACCC Broadband Speed Monitoring Report.

The TIO pointed out that complaints show some seasonality, and therefore it chose not to compare the latest numbers with those for the first half of 2017. The remaining 238 came from not for profit organisations.

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Complaints from small businesses meanwhile were 39.6 percent from those with multiple services, followed by landline at 21.9 percent, mobile at 20.9 percent, internet at 17.3 percent and property complaints were at 0.4 percent.

New South Wales had the highest total complaints with 26,914, up 27.9 percent, followed by Victoria's 23,954 complaints, or a 30.5 percent increase.

Only 11.1% of complaints related to landlines, and 0.8% to property damage or access. "The changes also make it easier to see the issues facing the telecommunications industry, helping providers improve the delivery of phone and internet services".

Due to the way it has changed its complaints recording process as of July past year, the TIO also said it is "not possible to compare complaints at the service type and issue levels with previous reports".

Ms Jones said most of those complaints were about charges and fees and provider responses and services but weather conditions in these regions also contributed to the climb. Indeed, this writer's experience is that it is practically impossible to have complaints handled by someone who can actually deal with the issue - as opposed to merely reciting a script that doesn't cover the exact situation - unless you take the matter to the TIO.

There were a total of 22,827 complaints about the NBN from 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017, according to the TIO's Six Monthly Update, with the most common complaints citing issues on service quality, delays in establishing a connection and unsatisfactory response from providers.

Again, the TIO has changed the complaint categories, so direct comparisons can not be made with 2H16.

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