It appears as though the complaints about the National Broadband Network (NBN) are finally being heard in Canberra.
Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield announced this week that the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) would commission research to obtain data from customers to find out how they had fared before, during and after they connected to the NBN.
Twenty-one industry participants in the NBN build — including retailers, wholesale providers and the NBN Co — would be notified about the need to supply data on fault handling, connection timeframes, keeping appointments, porting of telephone numbers and other similar issues.
“This information will be used to identify where customer issues most commonly arise and how those issues can be either avoided or resolved more quickly,” Mr Fifield said. “It will also help reduce the passing of customer complaints between retailers and NBN Co.”
The initiatives have come from a working group led by the Department of Communications and the Arts including ACMA and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
Internet Australia (IA), the peak not-for-profit group representing internet users welcomed the news of the ACMA review.
IA executive director Laurie Patton said there are two problems the Government needs to tackle in order to fix the NBN.
“They’re using inferior technology employing ageing copper wires that just can’t deliver, and their wholesale pricing regime is flawed. All up, this means customers are being served up a product they clearly don’t like,” Mr Patton said.
“Senator Fifield is to be commended for acknowledging that this project has serious problems.
“Customer complainants are continuing to rise the more they roll out their inferior, trouble-plagued network.”
While the review has been welcomed by many, it is staggering that it has taken so long for the ongoing complaints about the system to be taken seriously.
Many customers are suggesting that their internet speeds are slower on the NBN than their old ADSL connections.
These complaints should have been addressed before the inefficient system continued to be rolled out and certainly should be addressed before people are forced off their existing internet networks, many of which deliver speeds the NBN in its current form can only dream of achieving.
What do you think? Are you connected to the NBN? Are you happy with the speeds you are getting? What problems have you encountered?