Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIA’S Na­tional Broad­band Net­work has earned its worst re­port card to date, with of­fi­cial com­plaints about poor ser­vice and de­layed con­nec­tions on the net­work more than tripling in the last half of 2017.

Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions In­dus­try Om­buds­man Judi Jones told News Corp sky­rock­et­ing NBN com­plaints showed ser­vice on the $49 bil­lion net­work was still fall­ing short of con­sumers’ ex­pec­ta­tions, in a trend she la­belled “con­cern­ing”.

But un­re­solved is­sues with phone and in­ter­net ser­vices in­creased “across the board” in Aus­tralia, she said, with con­sumers and small busi­nesses lodg­ing al­most 20,000 more com­plaints be­tween July and De­cem­ber 2017 than they did the year be­fore.

The ram­pant com­mu­ni­ca­tion break­downs were re­vealed in the TIO’s lat­est re­port to­day, which showed Aus­tralians lodged 84,914 com­plaints with the Om­buds­man af­ter fail­ing to reach a so­lu­tion with their ser­vice provider — a rise of 28 per cent.

Mo­bile phone ser­vices proved the big­gest source of com­plaints, fol­lowed by in­ter­net con­nec­tions, and the most com­mon gripes in­volved fees, poor re­sponses, and ser­vice qual­ity. But com­plaints about the Na­tional Broad­band Net­work soared well above the av­er­age, as cus­tomer griev­ances rose 203 per cent.

Ms Jones said some growth in com­plaints was to be ex­pected, given its ex­pand­ing reach, but the jump in com­plaints showed the NBN was “still not meet­ing ex­pec­ta­tions”.

Most NBN com­plaints lodged with the TIO in­volved is­sues with “ser­vice qual­ity,” though some con­sumers com­plained about “prob­lems es­tab­lish­ing a con­nec­tion” to the net­work. NBN Co chief cus­tomer of­fi­cer Brad Whit­comb de­fended the com­pany’s per­for­mance, say­ing only 1052 of the 22,827 com­plaints about the NBN were sent back to the com­pany to re­solve.

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