Telco ombudsman records 204 per cent growth in NBN-related complaints

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 16, 2018

Complaints about services delivered over the National Broadband Network (NBN) from July to December 2017 totalled 22,827, according to the latest figures by the country's telco industry dispute resolution body.

"With "provider response" being the top issue raised by customers who complain in relation to a service delivered over the NBN, our industry will be working to improve the end-to-end experience, including through improved assistance between providers in the supply chain to resolve complaints", Gillespie-Jones said.

NBN Co, the company behind the rollout of the NBN, said in a statement that fewer than five per cent of those complaints (1,052) were sent to NBN Co to be resolved, suggesting that the other 21,775 were sent to the network's retail service providers (RSPs) to resolve.

Six Monthly Update report revealed a 203.0 per cent increase in complaints received about the services compared to the same period in 2016.

"This indicates the consumer experience is still not meeting expectations for all".

"While our industry is dealing with disruption, in part caused by the significant increase in NBN connections and migration to the network, we are disappointed with the high level of complaints in the second half of 2017", Communications Alliance director of program management Christiane Gillespie-Jones said. "Recent changes to regulation and an increase in our powers to resolve complaints are positive steps that will help improve the consumer experience".

Currently, there are 6.5 million local homes and businesses which can connect to the nbn, versus 4.5 million in March previous year.

NBN earlier this month announced it would end a freeze on sales of hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) services.

The TIO received 84,914 complaints in the six month period ending 31 December 2017. However, there was a decline compared to the first half of 2017, when 92,046 complaints were received.

Overall complaints rose 28.7 per cent on the same period in 2016, with multiple services contributing the bulk (30.8%), followed by mobile services (29.4%) and internet services (28%). Eleven per cent were about landline phone services and 0.8 per cent fell into the property category.

The TIO complaints equated to only 0.67 per cent of premises with NBN services, the company said. Complaints from small businesses were at 9947 or 11.7 percent. "An increasing range of products and services are being offered to consumers, expectations for the quality of phone and internet services are high, and the rollout of the National Broadband Network is changing the way we use telecommunications services", Jones said.

Complaints increased across all states and territories with Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia recording particularly high increases of over 30 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.

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