Economy

NBN Co connects 1 million premises to higher speed plans

NBN Co connects 1 million premises to higher speed plans”

Some media outlets are likely to focus on the raw number of complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) concerning the NBN - 22,827, up 203.9% from the year-ago period - but it makes more sense to look at the growth in complaints relative to the growth in NBN-connected premises. NBN Co's monthly progress report noted that more than 6.5 million Australian homes and businesses are now able to connect to the nbn, compared to 4.5 million in March 2017. Figures compiled by the ombudsman reveal 14,055 of those complaints related to service quality while 8757 related to delays in establishing a connection.

NBN Co has also announced that it plans to start selling the new wholesale pricing options from May, following months of continued industry consultation.

NBN Co says of the 22,827 complaints to the ombudsman about retail services delivered over the network, it received only 1052 complaints to resolve - a decline of 16 per cent compared to the same corresponding period.

The rollout of the NBN access network is more than half way built with more than 3.7 million homes and businesses already connected. That equates to an increase of more than a million homes and businesses on top of around 320,000 this time a year ago.

Whitcomb also pointed to the pause on hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) sales and improvements to processes and systems as steps taken by the company to help minimise complaints.

The TIO received 84,914 complaints in the six month period ending 31 December 2017.

"The number of self-employed women in NBN regions grew at an average 2.3 per cent every year, compared to just 0.1 per cent annual average growth in female entrepreneurs in non-NBN areas", he said.

74,729 of the 2H17 complaints concerned residential services, and 9,947 were from small businesses.

Overall complaints rose 28.7 per cent on the same period in 2016, with multiple services contributing the bulk (30.8%), followed by mobile services (29.4%) and internet services (28%). Eleven per cent were about landline phone services and 0.8 per cent fell into the property category.

Comparisons with the pattern of complaints in 2H16 can not be made due to changes in the TIO's categories. This category represented 39.6 per cent of all the small businesses complaints. "An increasing range of products and services are being offered to consumers, expectations for the quality of phone and internet services are high, and the rollout of the National Broadband Network is changing the way we use telecommunications services", Jones said.

"If this trend continues, up to 52,200 additional Australian women will be self-employed by the end of the roll-out due to the "NBN effect". Additionally, the wider issues relating to phone or internet problems such as debt management are concerning".

Complaints increased across all states and territories with Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia recording particularly high increases of over 30 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.



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