More Australians are being connected to the NBN than ever before and with this new service comes... a few bumps in the road. Or, a lot of bumps. Okay, a really large bump. For the period between July and December, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) saw NBN complaints rise 203.9 percent compared to the same period last year.
The TIO report details a total 22,827 complaints for the period ranging from July to December 2017. Of those complaints, 14,055 were about service quality and 8,757 were about problems establishing a connection. In the same period the year prior, only 7,512 complaints were made.
In the same period, the number of activated premises on the NBN increased by approximately 39%, up to 3.39 million from 2.44 million. Obviously, the huge influx of new connections and NBN users is going to see the issues with the service rise by pure weight of numbers, especially if that service is constantly being taken out by a car.
It's pretty easy to take a swipe at the NBN, of course, but during the same period last year, general internet services were the most complained about issue for consumers. For the reporting period, mobile phone services have again taken over, though there are far more complaints for 'multiple services' - those that relate to more than one of the TIO's service criteria.
Notably, only one-fifth of the complaints received between July and December related to NBN charges and fees, which is likely due to the ongoing crackdown on what ISPs are allowed to advertise and how this relates to the speed that users can get - especially during peak usage times. The added transparency has definitely improved how consumers can shop for ISPs and that is somewhat reflected in the TIO report.
The biggest gripe? Provider response, suggesting that ISPs are being a little coy when it comes to helping once they've got you on your contract but poor service quality sits in second place with almost 40 percent of complaints showing the NBN itself still has a ways to go before it can claim it is delivering the internet that Australians are clamouring for.
Speaking to the ABC, NBN co-chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb did suggest that this far along in the rollout it is important to both balance the customer experience and to ensure construction continues as necessary to meet the 2020 deadline.
If you've been having issues with your ISP, the NBN or a mobile phone provider and are seeking resolution, you can contact the TIO online or by phone on 1800 062 058.