Complaints about NBN services more than tripled in the last six months of 2017, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman says. Picture: Supplied
Complaints about NBN services more than tripled in the last six months of 2017, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman says. Picture: Supplied

Not happy, NBN: gripes up 203%

AUSTRALIA'S National Broadband Network has earned its worst report card to date, with official complaints about poor service and delayed connections on the network more than tripling last half of 2017.

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Judi Jones told News Corp skyrocketing NBN complaints showed service on the $49 billion network was still falling short of consumers' expectations, in a trend she labelled "concerning".

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

The rampant communication breakdowns were revealed in the TIO's latest report today, which showed Australians lodged 84,914 complaints with the Ombudsman after failing to reach a solution with their service provider - a rise of 28 per cent.

Mobile phone services proved the biggest source of complaints, followed by internet connections, and the most common gripes involved fees, poor responses, and service quality.

But complaints about the National Broadband Network soared well above the average, with customer grievances rising 203 per cent.

Ms Jones said some growth in complaints was to be expected, given its expanding reach, but the huge jump in complaints showed the NBN was "still not meeting expectations".

"The number of complaints is still concerning," she said. "For those customers who have a poor NBN experience, it's very, very frustrating.

"There's a lot of attention in that space right now, a lot of levers are being pulled, and I am hoping we will see an improvement when we come to our annual figures."

Most NBN complaints lodged with the TIO involved issues with "service quality," though some consumers complained about "problems establishing a connection" to the network.

But NBN Co chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb defended the company's performance, saying only 1052 of the 22,827 complaints about the NBN were sent back to the company to resolve.

The remaining complaints were directed to NBN retail service providers.

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.

"We will continue to work with industry to improve those parts of the customer's end-to-end experience without taking our foot off the construction pedal," Mr Whitcomb said.

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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