The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has had to set up a special team to handle rising complaints about the National Broadband Network.
Australian consumers made nearly 4000 complaints to the TIO about the NBN in the 2013-14 financial year, according to the TIO Annual Report released today. The number of complaints increased every quarter over the financial year as NBN Co continued to roll out its high-speed broadband network.
TIO performed 800 conciliations and 98 investigations of the complaints, with the latter figure representing more than 18 per cent of all TIO investigations.
“Resolving these complaints often takes time, and it can prove very difficult to put connections back on track when something goes wrong,” Ombudsman Simon Cohen said in a statement.
“The TIO has established a specialised NBN team in 2014, and is trialling new procedures to increase the cooperation between service providers and NBN Co to solve consumer complaints,” said
Among the 3892 total complaints, most had to do with new connection delays, including 1122 Internet users and 783 landline consumers reporting a delay. More than 500 consumers complained about missed appointments.
“A theme in these complaints has been communication breakdown, with consumers often reporting that they don’t know who to turn to solve their problem,” Cohen said.
NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow has acknowledged customer service problems around an often lengthy NBN installation process. In August, he revealed a 12-month “cleanup” program to connect premises classified as “passed” but in fact lack lead-ins to the network.
The 12-month cleanup program is part of an NBN Co effort to fix low customer satisfaction scores on installation and to paint a more accurate picture of how many premises actually have access to NBN service.
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