NBN Co’s field technicians outright missed 127,746 appointments in the last financial year, about 30 a day more than previously modelled.
The network builder provided an updated number in response to a question raised by Labor Senator Anne Urquhart at the most recent Senate Estimates. [pdf]
The updated number is somewhat tricky to decipher since it relies on a revised definition of what NBN Co now considers to be a missed appointment.
NBN Co informally redefined the metric back in April last year, when it split the total number of missed appointments into two categories: the number of appointments fulfilled the same day - just outside the scheduled window, and the number of appointments that were missed outright and rescheduled for another day.
In April, that split allowed NBN Co to reduce the headline missed appointments number by about one third.
As iTnews reported at the time, missed appointments using that new definition - that is, missed outright and rescheduled to be completed another day - numbered about 320 a day between 1 July 2018 and 20 February 2019.
New figures released over the Christmas 2019 period show that “127,746 [appointments] were not met on the scheduled day” and therefore classed as missed in FY19 - that is, from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.
Somewhat concerning for NBN Co is that even with the revised definition, the number of missed appointments continued to rise over the last few months of the financial year, going from 320 appointments a day missed outright to 350 a day.
However, NBN Co suggested even outright misses were not all its own fault.
“The number also includes some cases where the end user was not in attendance or where bad weather restricted the ability to complete the job,” it said.
It’s somewhat unclear how NBN Co’s performance on missed appointments matches up to prior years, given the revision in the way the published number is calculated.
NBN Co did not offer a new total number of missed appointments for FY19.
However, using previously released numbers for partial FY19, the total number would be at least 163,292.
That’s higher than the FY18 total, even with four months of numbers (of appointments that were still completed the same day but outside the scheduled window) missing.
NBN Co has reason to downplay the number of missed appointments. It is currently staring down a regulated tripling of the rebate it must pay out on misses, from $25 to $75.
Even that amount of financial compensation is seen as too low in some quarters; Aussie Broadband last year suggested around $150 a miss would come closer to the mark of what it costs internet providers and customers when NBN Co schedules work and doesn’t show up to do it.
A recent economic analysis commissioned by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) also put the inconvenience of outright missed appointments at closer to $150.
ACCAN is pushing for the compensation amount paid by NBN Co to be at least $100 per missed appointment.