Telco Complaints Skyrocket, NBN Tops List

NBN complaints are at a high in the same year the rollout has reached its halfway mark

NBN complaints are at a high in the same year the rollout has reached its halfway mark

"Complaints about services delivered over the national broadband network more than doubled, and while this is somewhat to be expected given the accelerating rollout, the increase is a cause for concern", Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, Judi Jones, said in the report.

Indeed, 27,195 complaints were recorded about services delivered over the NBN, a year on year increase of 159.3 per cent.

Of the issues raised to the Ombudsman, customer service accounts for nearly half of all complaints, and when it comes specifically to the NBN, these complaints were most often the result of delays in new internet connections or a completely unusable service.

This compares to a 64.8% increase in complaints about internet services to 63,892 and a 30.1% rise in complaints related to landline phone services to 41,824.

The Communications Alliance, which represents telecommunications providers, said that complaints as a proportion of services in operation (SIO) fell to 8.3 per 10,000 services for the September quarter, the lowest since the December 2016 quarter.

Once you pull out the complaints just about services delivered via the NBN, it gets worse.

Complaints about internet services, however, were up 65 percent.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has made its concerns about the new network known in a public statement, condemning the customer service performance of both internet providers and NBN Co itself, urging "all providers to lift their game and act to immediately improve customer services and the consumer experience".

Residents were also upset about telecommunications companies' complaint handling, contract disputes and connection problems.

Internet services accounted for the most complaints, at 40.4 percent, followed by mobile services at 33 percent and landline at 26.5 percent.

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"We acknowledge that the increase in complaints to the TIO about services delivered over the NBN access network in the 2016/17 financial year is regrettable", the company stated.

"This includes an increase in complaints about connection delays and reliability issues such as faults".

National telco complaints have now reached the highest levels since the 2012/2013 financial year.

Telstra had the most complaints lodged in Australia last financial year with 76,650, while Optus had 28,766.

In response, NBN called the increase in complaints "unfortunate", but said there is a "direct correlation" between the pace of the rollout and the rise in complaints.

Dr Brooks concludes: "Internet Australia notes the recent round-table meeting held between government, NBN and some of the larger providers to address systemic NBN migration problems is a belated step in the right direction, but far too late to help large numbers of customers during this peak migration period, as any improvements in processes will take significant time to become effective".

So what hope is there if you're the person stuck with the garbage internet connection that goes full potato every time you try and stream a TV show?

"The industry is dealing with significant disruption that has been hard for some customers and has generated worrying increases in complaint levels during the past 12 months following four years of continuous reduction in complaints", Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said.

"Industry - including service providers and NBN Co - are working intensely on a range of customer, service and process initiatives to improve the overall consumer experience", Stanton said.

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