NBN not meeting customer expectations: TIO

NBN not meeting customer expectations: TIO

Complaints were mostly regarding charges and fees, provider response, poor service quality, connection and no service among others.

Out of the 22,827 complaints, more than 14,000 were about the quality of the service and more than 8,000 about establishing a connection.

"Our industry can not be satisfied with these numbers and we will continue to implement measures - including through the enforceable Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code that is now being revised - created to improve the overall customer experience", Gillespie-Jones said.

He said that, of the 22,827 complaints, less than 5% (1,052 complaints) were sent to NBN Co to resolve.

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".

"While our industry is dealing with disruption, in part caused by the significant increase in NBN connections and migration to the network, we are disappointed with the high level of complaints in the second half of 2017", Communications Alliance director of program management Christiane Gillespie-Jones said.

"While the slowdown in the rate of complaints is encouraging, NBN Co acknowledges there is still more work to be done, particularly at this critical stage of the rollout as we balance prioritising customer experience without taking our foot off the construction pedal", NBN's chief customer officer for residential, Brad Whitcomb, said in a statement.

"Industry - including service providers and NBN Co - are working intensely on a range of measures to improve the overall consumer experience. Alongside retailers, our delivery partners and the wider industry, we established a number of company initiatives to improve the broadband experience for end users".

The number of complaints about the NBN tripled in the second half of 2017, according to a report from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

Announced today, the NBN Co will commence selling new wholesale pricing bundles from May.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last month revealed that it had seen a significant rise in NBN-related complaints during 2016-17.

As previously reported, last year the NBN Co temporarily reduced prices for its top-tier speeds for ISPs - e.g. its 50Mbps service sold for the price of the popular 25Mbps.

Whitcomb also pointed to the pause on hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) sales and improvements to processes and systems as steps taken by the company to help minimise complaints.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is now consulting on the introduction of new complaints-handling rules for telcos that offer services over the NBN.

Overall complaints rose 28.7 per cent on the same period in 2016, with multiple services contributing the bulk (30.8 per cent), followed by mobile services (29.4 per cent) and internet services (28 per cent).

The TIO received 84,914 complaints in the six month period ending 31 December 2017.

Average network bandwidth congestion per home is also said to have improved, to below 30 minutes per week, versus more than six hours per week recorded previous year. Complaints from customers who had more than one phone or internet service was the highest at 30.8 percent, while complaints about damage or access to property was 0.8 percent.

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