NBN Connects 2 Million Premises, But With More Complaints

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NBN has just released its third-quarter results, boasting what it calls "strong performance results across all key metrics" and a push towards hitting its full-year goals. What that means for you: the NBN is being rolled out more quickly, with twice as many premises hooked up as the same time last year.

Over two million homes, businesses and apartments were actively using the National Broadband Network at the end of NBN's third quarter, effectively double what it was a year ago. The one-million milestone for premises ready for service was actually hit in June of 2015, but it took almost a year more for NBN to achieve a million active users.

User sign-ups to NBN services have risen in line with the trend of new connections — a total of 4.6 million premises around the country are able to purchase internet, phone and IPTV services through NBN, compared to 2 million at the same time last year. The amount of cash that each end user pushes back into the network once they're hooked up — average revenue per user — remained steady at $43.

The bulk of those new numbers come from a big push in FTTN hook-ups — 1.5 million in the last year, for a total of 1.9 million. That's over 40 per cent of NBN connections in the country using the not-as-good-as-FTTP-or-FTTDP fibre to the node network, with a 'last mile' copper tail already in the ground that has a finite life span versus brand new fibre.

NBN's third-quarter results come as the TIO reports a rise in the number of complaints by end users in the telco industry generally in the second half of 2016 — up by 33.8 per cent against 2015's relatively low volumes — there's a silver lining of sorts. The rate at which the number of complaints is increasing has fallen off, itself up only 5.3 per cent from the six months before.

Nearly 66,000 customers submitted a complaint about their telco, and of that number 7 per cent were complaints about the NBN — a jump of 117 per cent from the same period in 2015, which is being attributed to the increasingly speedy rollout of the network itself as customers on existing networks like HFC cable and simpler network designs like fibre to the node are more quickly hooked up.

John Stanton, CEO of Australia's telco industry body Communications Alliance: “We have seen five years of falling complaint levels as a result of concerted industry action – dropping complaint volumes by close to 50% - so the recent setbacks reported by the TIO are a matter of serious concern and are being addressed."

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