Monday, 23 April, 2018

NBN-related complaints to TIO jump by 200%

Australians are gobbling up NBN Co's faster, cheaper speeds - and there's another round of better offers coming soon Spike in telco complaints triggers review
Russell Knight | 17 April, 2018, 02:38

NBN Co had also made the network available to an additional 3.3 million premises during that period, he said, which would have affected complaint numbers.

The remaining complaints were directed to NBN retail service providers.

"This six-month update reflects the changed recording of service types and issues".

"Trend analysis will build over time from the start of this reporting period".

The telecommunications complaints watchdog has revealed thousands of people have complained about the quality of service on the national broadband network (NBN), or have lodged complaints about issues with the installation of the service in their home.

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

However, Jones added that "consumers still seem to be facing the same problems" in regards to customer service and bills. Complaints from small businesses were at 9947 or 11.7 percent. "Recent changes to regulation and an increase in our powers to resolve complaints are positive steps that will help improve the consumer experience".

There were a total of 84,914 complaints to the TIO in the six months across broadband, mobile and other telecommunications services, representing a 28.7 per cent increase in complaints compared to the same time period in 2016.

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The most common issues complained about by small businesses were charges and fees (presumably things like being charged for services not ordered or received, higher than expected charges, and early termination fees being charged when the customer was already out of contract), and provider response (hardly surprising - our experience is that the so-called customer service staff at the big-name providers behave as if they have been trained to avoid complaint resolution, and that the only way to get your problem escalated to someone who can deal with it properly is to get the TIO involved).

As previously reported, past year the NBN Co temporarily reduced prices for its top-tier speeds for ISPs - e.g. its 50Mbps service sold for the price of the popular 25Mbps.

Average network bandwidth congestion per home is also said to have improved, to below 30 minutes per week, versus more than six hours per week recorded previous year.

Responding to claims by Telstra CEO Andy Penn that 5G will erode NBN's user base, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the volume of data being downloaded over fixed broadband will prevent this.

"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.

But unresolved issues with phone and internet services increased "across the board" in Australia, she said, with consumers and small businesses lodging nearly 20,000 more complaints between July and December 2017 than they did the year before.

The TIO report also revealed Queensland phone and internet services attracted the highest jump in complaints, increasing 39 per cent, followed by Western Australia at 36 per cent. Consumers in New South Wales and Victoria lodged the greatest number of complaints, however, at 26,914 and 23,954 respectively.

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