18 October 2017

Massive increase in complaints as Canberrans refuse to be put ‘on hold’ about poor internet services

| Glynis Quinlan
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Internet services complaintsACT residents and small businesses made 2,612 complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in the last financial year – a massive 42.3 per cent increase on the previous year.

Nationwide a total of 158,016 complaints were made, with complaints about landline phones, mobile phones and internet services increasing by 41.1 per cent.

For the first time, internet services were the highest source of complaints, with Australians becoming increasingly frustrated about being unable to rely on technology to stay connected, and complaints about the national broadband network more than doubling.

Publishing the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s 2016/17 Annual Report yesterday (October 18), Ombudsman Judi Jones said that complaints about internet services are now higher than complaints about mobile phones.

“The picture the complaints show is we are frustrated when we cannot rely on technology to stay connected, to be informed, and to do business,” Ms Jones said.

“Sharing high-quality videos immediately, holding an online meeting or watching Netflix on the way home, is now the norm and part of our daily routine,” she said.

“Residential consumers and small businesses still have too many complaints about their customer service, a bill or faults.”

Ms Jones said that in the 206/17 financial year there were 27,195 complaints about services delivered over the NBN – an increase of 159.3 per cent over the previous year.

In addition, 16,221 complaints were recorded about faults in services delivered over the NBN and 11,224 complaints were recorded about connection delays to services delivered over the NBN.
National Broadband Network

“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,” Ms Jones said.

“The national broadband network project is complex, and it is important all parties involved work together to ensure a great consumer experience.”

The report shows that 87.8 per cent of complaints were from residential consumers, while 11.9 per cent of complaints were from small businesses.

Complaints about landline phones, mobile phones and internet services all increased, with most complaints being about customer service, billing and payments, faults and complaint handling.

Small business complaints increased 31.3 per cent in 2016/17 to 18,789. This increase was driven primarily by internet and landline service complaints, with the main issues being customer service, faults, and billing and payments.

The top 10 service phone and internet providers accounted for 90.9 per cent of complaints in the past financial year, with Telstra receiving the most complaints – namely 76,650 complaints or an increase of 43.5 per cent.

Have you had to deal with poor internet or phone services in the past year? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.

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PressReset7710:57 am 21 Oct 17

The building where I live – new construction during 2016 – is only serviced by iiNet VDSL. I was lucky enough to get a port last May, but a sign on our shared notice board now says that no more ports are available, which is a real problem for newer residents and anyone who has moved in that wants internet (the ports go quickly to other buildings if they are disconnected). What’s worse is that there have been complaints made to the Ombudsman and also the local MP, with crickets for an answer. Not sure what has happened to NBN – I’m in Kingston so would’ve thought it should be here by now! I just feel so sorry for anyone in the building or surrounds that can’t access internet. This is 2017 not 1997.

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