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Nbn complaints surge 159% in FY17

18 October 2017

Oh dear. Shortly after NBN Co released a statement promising that it'd focus on NBN customers who have been left behind, the beleaguered network has found itself under fire once again thanks to the annual report from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). and boy is it grim.

Of the issues raised to the Ombudsman, customer service accounts for nearly half of all complaints, and when it comes specifically to the NBN, these complaints were most often the result of delays in new internet connections or a completely unusable service.

Fully unusable internet services over the NBN accounted for 4,816 complaints, while slow data speeds accounted for 3,917 complaints during the year.

"Complaints about services delivered over the National Broadband Network more than doubled, and while this is somewhat to be expected given the accelerating rollout, the increase is a cause for concern", Jones said on Wednesday.

As for ISPs, the 10 biggest service providers accounted for 90.9 percent of complaints, with the three biggest topping the list.

Complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman about nbn services surged more than 159% during the FY17 financial year as frustration over service faults and connection delays mounted.

Residents were also upset about telecommunications companies' complaint handling, contract disputes and connection problems.

Consumers aren't the only source of complaints, with the TIO report showing that small business complaints grew 31.3% year on year to 18,789, driven largely by complaints related to internet and landline services.

During the financial year, 27,196 complaints were recorded about services delivered over the nbn, including 16,221 complaints about faults in services delivered over the network.

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.

National telco complaints have now reached the highest levels since the 2012/2013 financial year. Optus received 10.3 complaints per 10,000 SIO in the July to September 2017 period, while Amaysim saw 1.5 complaints per 10,000 SIO, and Pivotel registered 0.8 complaints per 10,000 SIO.

Of these complaints, 50,537 originated in New South Wales; 43,565 in Victoria; 28,988 in Queensland; 13,623 in Western Australia; 12,526 in South Australia; 2,964 in Tasmania; 2,612 in the Australian Capital Territory; and 1,043 in the Northern Territory.

"Complaints about services delivered over the national broadband network have more than doubled".

· Vodafone received 10,684 complaints, a year on year increase of 37.5 per cent. Customers often find themselves caught between NBN Co, which is undertaking the infrastructure rollout, and their retail service provider with whom they have the contractual relationship.

"It is pleasing that these latest Complaints in Context results appear to indicate that these efforts are beginning to bear fruit", Stanton added.

NBN Co said in a statement: "We are working with retail service providers and industry as a priority to improve these figures and the overall experience for consumers".

Nbn complaints surge 159% in FY17