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NBN Complaints Soar 200%, Govt Review Triggered

The Telcom Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) latest report has revealed NBN related complaints soared over 200% in the second half of 2017 [versus the same period in 2016] – news which has triggered a fresh review from the Federal Government.

Between July 1st and December 31st 2017, the TIO received a notable 22,827 NBN-related complaints, with 14,055 concerning service quality, and 8,757 surrounding connection delays.

For the half-year, the TIO received a total of 84,914 complaints from Aussie households and businesses.

Ombudsman Judi Jones claims the end user experience is “still not meeting expectations”, however, admits recent regulation changes will help improve the situation.

As previously reported, NBN-related complaints have slowed since the beginning of 2018. The NBN Co has admitted further improvement is in progress.

Following the TIO’s half-year report, the Federal Government has announced it will stage a three-part review over consumer safeguards in the telecoms industry.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is reportedly offering its assistance for the introduction of new ‘complaint-handling’ rules for NBN telcos.

Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, claims the existing complaint handling process is broken, with complaint figures “simply too high”.

The NBN Co asserts that of the 22,827 TIO complaints, only 1,052 were passed onto the organisation to resolve – a 16% decrease compared to the previous corresponding period.

The TIO’s NBN-related complaints jumped in all Australian states, with QLD, TAS, WA and VIC notching especially high increases.

Despite an increase in the number of NBN connections between 2016 and 2017, Ombudsman Jones affirms the volume of complaints is concerning.

With TIO complaints for fixed line and mobile services remaining high, Senator Fifield asserts telcos need to “lift their game”.

The forthcoming Federal Review will seek to ensure consumers have access to transparent complaint handling procedures, in addition to guarantees over connections, repairs and appointments.

Recommendations are scheduled to be given to the Australian Government by year end.

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