NBN Complaints Jump By 160 Per Cent: TIO

Image: iStock

The ramp-up of the nationwide NBN rollout means that more Australians are finally getting connected to the National Broadband Network. And that's a good thing. But the telecommunications industry ombudsman's bleak 2016-17 annual report shows that complaints about Australia's internet have overtaken mobile phones in volume, and over 27,000 complaints about the performance of the NBN represent a 160 per cent rise versus the year past.

According to the TIO report, 27,195 complaints about "services delivered" on the NBN mean a jump of 159.3 per cent year on year. That's 16,221 complaints about faults and 11,224 complaints about connection delays -- 6.7 faults and 8.3 delays per 1000 activated premises.

TIO has been monitoring NBN rollout and complaint performance since 2013-14, and says that the widening rollout does correlate with the growth in complaints. To put the ramp of activated services in context, it took NBN five years to activate its first million premises, less than a year to hit the second million, and six months to hit the three million it currently has.

NBN's response to the TIO has been, as per usual, to shift blame from itself to the ISPs delivering retail services to customers. NBN CEO Bill Morrow said that fewer than 15 per cent of complaints were directed to the network builder itself, accounting for around 1 per cent of the number of activated premises hooked up to the NBN.

NBN also blamed the ambitious scale of the project for its shortcomings. "It is important to note that no large scale construction project has ever been problem-free. With a workforce of close to 30,000 people digging trenches, hauling cable, climbing poles and going into people’s yards and homes, there are inevitably going to be some issues."

Consumer advocacy group ACCAN is pushing for a customer service guarantee on internet services, in part to push NBN and internet providers to give customers timeframes for fixing faults and completing connections. Says deputy CEO Narelle Clark: "The complaint statistics show that many consumers are being left with no connection or a service that is completely unusable. This is not acceptable and it’s clear there is an urgent need for updated consumer guarantees. Considering the rollout of the NBN has reached scale and more consumers are making the switch, this must change."

The government-run company behind the NBN rollout is working on advanced fault detection on its network to allow remote diagnosis of problems -- whether they exist at the ISP level or with the network itself -- and to allow better distribution of technicians to actual problems rather than those of a "turn it off and on again" variety. [TIO]



    TIO has been monitoring NBN rollout and complaint performance since 2013-14, and says that the widening rollout does correlate with the growth in complaints
    That's the important comparison. I'd certainly agree there needs to be some sort of guarantee. There's just too many customers not getting what they expected, and caught in the endless loop of RSP blaming nbn and nbn blaming RSP.

      It's almost always NBN. ISGM techs perform jumpering tasks, and they're very often jumpered early, sometimes months ahead of time. On the other hand, most people (if there's no NTD) will need a professional installation, which requires two separate appointments -- my HFC got cut 29/9 and my NBN installation is 21/11, and even as an employee (T, not NBN) there's sweet fuck all I can do about it.

      I see it so often (and how to fix it, since it's left up to my department which is 100% un-fucking-related to fix this crap, we had to work it out on the fly) that I'm convinced I could do O2A's job better than they can at NBN.

      Last edited 18/10/17 11:46 am

      Yes, it is the important comparison because it shows that in spite of the headline, it's not actually getting worse, merely bigger. Of course that also means that quality of service isn't improving either.

        No it says exactly the opposite to that. It says there's no correlation. Meaning it's getting worse despite the greater volume.

          "the widening rollout does correlate with the growth in complaints"

          Where's the "not" (or equivalent)?

    Working with them I can guarantee that at least 70% of them are transition troubles; people being sold services in greenfields with no lead ins; early jumpering tasks (I've seen up to a WHOLE YEAR early), shit like that.

    Pretty much every ISP has in their terms and conditions that "performance may be lower during peak periods" which is utter bullshit. Peak times are the only time I'm home! My connection is practically unusable during 6-10pm.

    Are there any good isp's any more?

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now