Finder to the Node: Aussies still complaining about the NBN

Alex Kidman 17 October 2018 NEWS

Australian broadband users are still complaining about the NBN, but the volume of complaints has lessened in our round-up of the week's NBN news.

TIO figures show complaints are down... sort of.

Statistics are endlessly malleable, and that's never more true than in the recent annual report on complaints to the TIO.

On the one hand, the ombudsman clocked in a total of 167,831 complaints relating to NBN matters, an increase of 6.2% over the previous year. That's bad, right?

However, it's more complicated than that because as a result of the increase in the number of premises connected to the NBN over that period, the overall number of complaints per residences on the network has trended downwards pretty sharply. Complaints per 1,000 premises dipped down to 3.2 from 4.1 in the first half of 2018.

Or in other words, while the TIO has had to deal with numerically more complaints, you could reasonably expect that simply because more people are connected to the network. The fact that per 1,000 premises the trend is downwards is a positive, right?

The data around NBN connections suggest that they're dominated by the big telco players, and Telstra and Optus headed up the complaints figures, with Optus notably seeing a 35% increase in complaints over the period.

Even there, the TIO isn't certain why Optus in particular seems to be struggling, with the ABC quoting TIO ombudsman Judi Jones as stating that "There's nothing that shouts out to us from our data".

Optus, for its part, is quoted as stating that "We have been working hard to improve the way we respond to customer complaints and resolve issues more quickly. This year, we've invested in a number of customer-focused initiatives across our business aimed at reducing complaints. We expect these reductions to be reflected in the TIO's next report."

Finder to the Node is a weekly round-up of all the latest news surrounding Australia's complex National Broadband Network.

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