IT complaints now outnumber mobile phone issues
COMPLAINTS to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) about the internet and the National Broadband Network (NBN) have for the first time overtaken those concerning mobile phone services.
Australians lodged more than 158,000 complaints about poor telecommunications experiences in the financial year to June - up from almost 112,000 last year, including 64,892 complaints about internet services alone.
But complaints about NBN services surged at an even higher rate, soaring 159% during the year, with most complaints about faults and connection delays.
None of this surprises Tewantin's Frank Keding, a software developer who works from home.
As an early NBN sign-up a little earlier this year, Mr Keding encountered a range of problems after a few weeks, which he said NBN insisted were not evident.
His service also averages 10 drop-outs a week, however, he blames NBN and its money-saving, not the service providers.
"The last technician found a flooded cable box but was never mentioned in the NBN protocol. 'No Errors found' was the response,” he said.
Mr Keding said much of the standard NBN technology was designed for population-dense areas like Sydney "and they don't work here”.
"It just doesn't work in areas like Noosa where premises spread over a big area to connect them to a single node with rotten cable,” he said.
"More nodes are needed and fibre is inevitable.”
Mr Keding's nearest NBN node is 800m from his home.
He was expecting speeds of 70-80 megabits per second (Mbps) but actually gets 36-37Mbps most of the time.
Ombudsman Judi Jones said consumer frustration with telecommunications services was even higher as complaints made to the TIO were a last resort, only lodged after communications with providers broke down.
"It takes a lot of energy to pursue a complaint so people don't do it for one bad experience. It tends to be when things have gone wrong repeatedly, or when there's a mixture of issues,” Ms Jones said.
"Maybe providers have taken their eye off the consumer-service ball.”
NBN Co said the increase was "regrettable” but came as it connected more than one million premises over the past six months.