Bill Morrow, CEO of the company behind Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), nbn, has flagged “adjustments to make improvements” to service levels, as the network edges towards three million activations nationwide.
The company charged with rolling out the country’s national network released its latest quarterly results for the three months ending September, on 14 November.
Among the latest figures were 520,000 new premises activated in the quarter, bringing total activations up to 2.9 million.
Meanwhile, an additional 708,000 premises were made ready for service during the period, to reach 6.4 million in total. At the same time, the company reported $405 million in revenue.
It should be noted that, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), nbn's broadband wholesale access services around Australia increased to just over 3 million in the quarter ended 30 September, a significant increase from 2.5 million access services reported in June.
The latest figures come after a period of increased scrutiny of the network’s rollout and heightened levels of criticism from some quarters, as a growing number of end customers report connection and speed issues, according to the latest figures by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).
In fact, in its Annual Report 2016/17, released in October, the TIO flagged the rapid growth in the number of complaints it had received about services delivered via the NBN as a cause for concern.
This was addressed by Morrow, who said on 14 November that, “together, we are revisiting processes and making adjustments to make improvements at all service levels a priority”.
“We have demonstrated our ability to scale and deliver, and with the same determination we seek to further improve the end-to-end experience for households and businesses, from migration to use of the network,” he said.
Indeed, in a statement, nbn said that, with customer experience remaining a priority over the quarter, it has implemented a number of key initiatives, including a national campaign launched to address consumer confusion and changes to the ‘check your address function’ with the inclusion of the new term, ‘ready to connect’, for when a service can be ordered.
It has also launched a Tech Lab for fault assessment and remediation.
“As the deployment of the nbn network subsequently causes an industry-wide transformation, a greater collaborative focus has been undertaken seeing all parties in the supply chain working together to further improve services from the wholesale and retail level,” the company said in a statement.
Among the complaints received by the TIO and local industry regulators have been around issues involving the speeds delivered via NBN services, with some end users complaining of receiving lower speeds than expected under the plans they have signed up for with the network's retail service providers (RSPs).
In early November, the country's consumer watchdog revealed that, following an investigation, around 42,000 Telstra and Belong NBN customers may receive compensation after the telco admitted to misleading customers with its maximum speed claims.
For this reason, among others, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) subsequently launched a public inquiry into NBN wholesale service standards to work out whether regulation is needed to enforce service agreements with resellers.
In November, nbn revealed plans to launch a pilot channel program before the end of the year in preparation for a full-blown initiative, which is expected to officially launch sometime during the first quarter of 2018.
The program will offer training and accreditation for technology providers and consultants to educate business customers around connecting to the new network as well as information on applications which can support their business over fast broadband.