Spike in NBN complaints prompts review

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The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) received 23,000 official complaints about NBN-related connections in the six months to December. This was twice the number received during the same period in 2016, according to the industry report.

Presenting the report, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the record spike would prompt a broad review.

“The TIO’s six-monthly update report shows that the existing model for complaints handling and redress is not working. Customers are continuing to experience poor service, and are unable to get their service provider to satisfactorily resolve issues,” Senator Fifield said.

“The fact that complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman are still high across all types of fixed line and mobile services clearly shows that telcos need to lift their game. I have already directed the CMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) to put in place rules to support a better consumer experience during the NBN transition, including a complaints handling standard. It is now time to look at the effectiveness of consumer protections across the board.”

Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Judi Jones said most official complaints about NBN services related to speeds that telcos had promised but could not deliver, and connection delays.

“Services delivered on the NBN make up about 25 per cent of complaints – there was an increase in complaints across the board,” she said.

“The total complaints about the NBN will continue to grow as more consumers receive their services over the NBN.”

Ms Jones said that as many as 10 million Australians were having issues with their phone or internet service. And once complaints had been communicated to the provider, close to one-quarter had not been resolved four months later.

She added that her research indicated that only 12 per cent of people who had serious issues had contacted her office.

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Written by Janelle Ward


Total Comments: 17
  1. 0

    Mitch said: “Update report shows that the existing model for complaints handling and redress is not working.”

    Good on ya! Lets shoot the messenger…

    How about fixing the problem?

    • 0


      But also “10 million Australians were having issues with their phone or internet service”? Out of a population of 25 Million? Can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous this sounds!

      However, Judi Jones, the messenger seems to be just that with NO TEETH and her office should be shut down and replaced by an authority which doesn’t just collect statistics, but actually gets problems fixed with fines imposed for all service delivery failures.

  2. 0

    I was without internet service for three months all because the technician was either, badly trained or as a subcontractor, trying to maximize the connections in a day to earn more money, In my case he could not make a connection and left. Three months later it was fixed
    in five minutes.

  3. 0

    Again, we are reading that the NBN is having problems when the bulk of complaints have nothing to do with the NBN. Most official complaints are about the speed that telcos are promising. (what are unofficial complaints and how are they recorded?) NBN is a wholesale provider and sells a service to various telcos who are retailers who, in turn, sell to the consumer. It’s like a service station buying E10 petrol from a fuel company and selling it as premium petrol. When the performance is down, who is to blame? It’s not the fuel company, it’s the service station. Just as the telcos are selling a basic service they have purchased from the NBN and passing off what they bought as a premium product.

    • 0

      I only pay for the minimum amount of data I can at the highest speed available for the month. Young folks I have here usually manage to use it all before the end of the month and it is scaled back to a slow speed. Funniest thing is I can’t tell the difference between the fast internet and when it is scaled back to a slower speed. I do speed tests and they tell me nothing changes.

    • 0

      Forgot to add I am allowed 3 free top ups per year but haven’t used any since I had it connected about 4 years ago now.

  4. 0

    Just another privatisation failure when will these fools ever learn.

    • 0

      My NBN works well and have had no issues since it was connected about 4 years ago. I had problem with my copper phone line about six months ago and elected to have the phone connected to the NBN instead and no problem with it either. Best thing is I can turn the power off the NBN and phone doesn’t ring when I am out or overnight.

  5. 0

    That is the problem the combination of NBN and old copper cable.

  6. 0

    Old Geezer wrote: phone doesn’t ring when I am out or overnight.
    Even in an emergency…
    Even when you have a fall and need to call the Ambulance…
    “Most people have mobiles”? Not the elderly who need that copper-based phone working.
    IO am a 47-year veteran of the electronic age. An enthusiastic uptaker of modern technology as soon as I can.
    But I feel this over reliance on technology is not without “collateral damage”.
    And part of that collateral damage is those that cant take it up for whatever reason – like the elderly.

    • 0

      Pardon me but I am not a spring chicken myself so who are those elderly?

      It would make more sense to have a mobile phone not a landline if you were prone to falls and needed to call an ambulance.

  7. 0

    My internet connection and speed was heaps better BEFORE I connected to NBN. Can they explain that?

    • 0

      Mine was hopeless before the NBN and was twice the cost of the NBN as well. I certainly don’t want to go back to those horse and cart days.

    • 0

      We have been lucky to have much better speed with the NBN than before. Optus wanted to charge more, but we said we would look elsewhere, so paying same price

    • 0

      Turnball, our tech-savvy PM should explain that – after all he decided the new strategy as Communications Minister and set the system up for this pathetic quality of delivery.

  8. 0

    Remember when phone services worked for us, the consumer, rather than putting huge salaries into the pockets of the big bosses?? I am delaying connection to the NBN as long as I can. I have heard so many horror stories…….and I need my phone in working order as I have a medical condition. Let’s hope the government review may get some results, but I won’t hold my breath

  9. 0

    The NBN is a farce! When you have a complaint Telstra advise you to be at home from 8-12 and after waiting until 1pm and contacting them they advise they changed their minds but of course did not have the deceny to advise this. You are again advised to wait at home from 8-12 and this time the Telstra technician arrives about 10:30 and then advised that he cannot fix the problem as it is an NBN fault. Days later still waiting for this to be fixed. Whoever made this joke of a system compulsory should be in jail. How are people supposed to wait at home when they are supposed to be at work and constantly losing pay for no results and huge frustration. Shame on you!



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