The latest complaints report from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has revealed NBN customers are among the least satisfied internet users in Australia. A whopping 13,406 NBN-related complaints were made to the TIO in the last financial year, an increase of more than 100 per cent compared to the year before.
The number of complaints was also five times higher than non-NBN services such as ADSL2. That ACCC NBN performance monitor report can't come soon enough.
NBN users aren't happy about the quality of their internet - and they want the TIO to know all about it. The latest figures from the telco ombudsman has shown a marked increase in NBN-related complaints, which accounted for 11.9 per cent of all complaints received in financial year 2016-2017. (By contrast, the total was 5.4 per cent the year before.) Faults and connections were the two main issues in complaints about services delivered over the NBN.
The higher number of complaints can be partly attributed to a higher take up by customers. Indeed, when the increased number of active services are taken into account, the percentage of complaints has actually dropped, if NBN Co's figures can be believed.
With that said, there are still many customers with legitimate grievances against the network relating to confusing adverts, connectivity snafus and generally shoddy service. Recent problems to plague the NBN include Telstra selling speeds it couldn't provide, Optus unceremoniously cutting customers off its network, a constantly changing rollout map and increased NBN congestion.
Customers are also annoyed by the lack of transparency when it comes to how real-world internet speeds are advertised by retail service providers (RSPs). According to a recent ACCC survey, approximately 80 per cent of fixed broadband consumers are confused by the jargon around speeds offered by RSPs such as Telstra, TPG and Optus.
In related news, the ACCC has launched a NBN Performance Monitoring Program with the aim of taking unscrupulous telcos to task. You can find out how to join the program here.
Eight years into the Australian government’s National Broadband Network (NBN) project, the nation has an average internet speed – 50th in the global rankings – that lags well behind many advanced economy countries. Ongoing secrecy around the NBN, a project that’s likely to cost more than A$50 billion, makes it impossible for the public in most cases to know when and what quality service they will receive. Further, new research shows the NBN rollout was politically motivated and socioeconomically biased from the beginning.
It is perhaps time to remind ourselves of the ups and downs of the project that was once announced as a dream national infrastructure project for the 21st century. This requires a ten-year journey back in time, before we can figure out what needs to be done next.