What Do NBN Customers Complain About?

What Do NBN Customers Complain About?

Anyone who’s not in an area which has current National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout plans is complaining about the fact they have no prospect of high-speed connections in the near future. But what are actual customers who can get on the NBN complaining about?

Picture: Stephan Ridgway

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has released its first figures covering complaints about NBN services. By far the dominant issue: the speed at which NBN connections are installed in the first place. Even if you’re an in NBN-serviced area, it seems not everyone is being hooked up as rapidly as they would like.

During the 2013-2014 financial year, the TIO received a total of 3982 complaints about the NBN. The majority related to delays in setting up the connection: 1122 internet connections and 783 landline connections had problems. More than 500 across the two groups were related to missed appointments. NBN-related complaints comprised a total of 18 per cent of TIO investigations in that period (note that investigations are not the same as complaint totals).

It’s perhaps to be expected that a relatively new technology such as the NBN would attract complaints and require multiple investigations, and it’s also worth noting that such complaints would involve multiple ISPs. 3982 might seem a large number, but it’s tiny compared to the complaints lodged about mainstream providers. NBN Co says it signed up 140,000 new customers in the most recent financial year — so that means 136,000 didn’t make a complaint.


  • Wonder if I can raise a complaint that they’ve not come back to finish connecting houses to the fibre that’s < 10m from my house?

  • The biggest issue I have with the NBN is more provider specific but related to the cost of ISP access to the NBN. With Exetel over my 100/400mbps connection I receive about 3mbps on average down, and 35mbps up. It’s quite a poor quality service. It’s generally as a result of congestion which is related to Exetel not owning enough capacity (CVC) into my region (Townsville). Exetel have advised they can’t/won’t do anything about it but will release any NBN customer on their network with this same issue with no penalty for cancellation.

    • Looks like I wont be going with Exetel anytime soon then.
      Ideally NBN should set a mandatory contention threshold for retail and business customers to stop this over selling bs.

  • Given our experience being connected to the NBN (we were already on a fibre connection – the lines were sold to the NBN) I am not sure it is the NBN causing the issues but the service providers and major communication issues – which have been highlighted in past reports on the slow connection rates to the NBN.

  • As someone who went from “Build is in planning stage” to “You won’t get it” I just want the current “Adult government” to be terminated so that we can go back to nation building exercises.

  • It is neither NBNCo nor the providers that have the issue, the connection is not performed by NBNCo it is contracted out to visionstream or the like. This is the problem there is no communication between these contracted companies and NBNCo/providers and even less if they subcontract out to local business in the area.

    If there was a robust model in place that could deal with this lack of communication between these entities things would have been and still would be progressing a lot more smoothly.

  • You should ask companies like Visionstream that do the ground work (laying cable, digging up peoples gardens etc) about what complaints they receive, how many of them and how often they dont get back to them when they say they are coming. I reckon that might add a few to the list.

  • I love how people complain about not having a connection to NBN when they already have ADSL or ADSL 2+. At my place, well a whole suburb, can’t get even get ADSL. Not even ADSL 1. Its because the suburb is too far from the exchange 8kms and we are 20km direct from the city centre of Brisbane, even Telstra can’t be bothered to come out to upgrade all the lines. Its really a shame, that in the year 2014, a whole suburb can’t even get ADSL and wallies are complaining about why the can’t get fast enough NBN.

    • I agree that it is a shame or a disgrace that in the major cities of this country there is no adequate internet connection. I live in a small pocket that has ADSL surrounded by cable. Our area was on the rollout map but now is not. I have in fact noticed that the the entire areas directly north and south of Sydney have been removed from the rollout and have to wonder why?????

  • I have had Telstra NBN for 2 years and have not had a great service in that time. I have had 17 technicians and 4 case managers that were helpful temporary not permanently. My only internet service is in 1 bedroom of the house and from the case managers view today she has told me that that was fine as I am still getting internet service. I advised her how much I pay per month and why should I when service is only in one area of the house, she seemed to think it was fine and if I stopped paying my service will be terminated She advised that I have to call a private electrician to sort the connection problem out, now it is my job and yet she was the case manager for complaints. I advised her for 2 years I have been calling and complaining and no one is helping permanently just temporary. I cannot change to another service because they’re saying I cant. I have no worries about being disconnected because its been that way for me for 2 years anyway!!

  • Why cant I connect to NBN in Kidman park South Australia Almost every one in the suburb has signed a Petition that I delivered to Telstra. But Oh no they want every one to use the HFC crap . last time 135 people were all on line watching crap the service slowed to 3Mbps and then stalled or some garbage. NBN Kidman Park SA more than 12000 Signatures that signed they would DEFINATELY USE THE SERVICE. and that’s is not all of the signatures the rest were considering it when they had finished with their current contract. I did another petition at Goolwa SA every single household said they would sign a contract if presented with it for no less than 24 Months permanently and are prepared to pay for high speeds as entertainment is not available in these areas.. you have money ready to be thrown at you and your connecting houses and areas that will most likely never use it.

  • What nobody has said is how expensive converting to NBN is! Even if you stay with your current service provider they still charge an “activation” fee which is about $80 upwards!! So much for remaining loyal to your current service provider. And then there are modems etc. you have to get. I have also noticed, that if you opt for the cheaper plan with a service provider (eg. Optus), they now charge for local and national calls whereas before all this was bundled together and the actual plan was cheaper. It is going to be VERY expensive for me…… I don’t how older people are going to cope with this. What I don’t understand is, that at the end of last year, I was speaking with an NBN person, who led me to believe that NBN was going to be a choice and it was not going to be compulsory, but since reading literature in my letterbox it is now compulsory. Why? I also paid to have x 4 phone points put throughout my house last year and now, after all that expense they will be useless once we get NBN. It is not fair that we should be forced to undertake all this expense if we don’t want to, and by the sounds of a number of these comments it’s not that great anyway. If you haven’t got NBN don’t complain about it – stick with your “normal” ADSL.

  • Took the day off work after my 3 weeks waiting for my scheduled install appointment. Techy didn’t show up at all, and no one called me. I received no information what-so-ever, so I rang My ISP and they said my appointment could not be conducted due to lack of technicians..? I was booked in for a morning appointment 8-12.. anyway the earliest they could re-schedule was a month away from now, And they wonder why we’re complaining?

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