NBN complaints more than double in a year

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NBN complaints more than double in a year

As telcos undo four years of gains.

Complaints about the NBN lodged with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman more than doubled in the past year.

The TIO’s annual report, released this morning, shows NBN complaints leapt from 10,487 in 2015/16 to 27,195 in the financial year ended June 30 - an increase of almost 160 percent.

Complaints were mostly about connection delays and services being degraded or “unusable”.

Ombudsman Judi Jones said that while an increase in complaints is “somewhat to be expected given the accelerating rollout of the NBN, [it] is still a concerning trend".

Jones noted that NBN Co’s supply chain complexity made delivering internet services a “multi-faceted” challenge, and one where it could be difficult to work out who was responsible for an end user’s problems.

“The national broadband network project is complex, and it is important all parties involved work together to ensure a great consumer experience,” Jones said.

The sharp rise in NBN complaints came against a backdrop of a rise in overall complaints about telecommunications services lodged with the TIO - the first increase in four years.

The number of complaints rose from 111,949 in 2015/16 to 158,016 complaints in 2016/17.

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

“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.

NBN Co pre-empted the TIO numbers on Monday when it admitted its investments in customer service had not scaled at the same rate as the expansion of its network, leading to the company’s current customer service woes.

The network builder said it is trying to progress support tickets for new connections and activations that have been on hold for over four weeks.

The government also last week convened a meeting with top brass from NBN Co and ISPs to discuss possible resolutions to NBN Co’s customer service problems.

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