Almost half of the households surveyed by Australia’s telco regulator reported service drop-outs since connecting to the country’s National Broadband Network (NBN).
Of all the households surveyed, 49 per cent reported service dropouts since connecting to the NBN and 28 per cent service outages, while 27 per cent reported no issue or fault with their connection.
Meanwhile, just over a third of surveyed Australian households being connected to the NBN have reported being left without phone and/or internet services during the connection process, according to new research by the country’s telecommunications industry regulator.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released preliminary data from its ongoing NBN consumer experience research on 15 March, revealing that 34 per cent of households reported being left without services while being hooked up to the network.
Among those with an internet service, the research showed, 30 per cent were without internet for a period of time during the connection process. For those with a home phone service, 32 per cent were without a home phone for a period during the connection process.
According to the research, the most frequent reason for lack of service during connection was “technical issue with installation”, reported by 65 per cent of those left without a home phone and 63 per cent of those left without internet.
According to the data, of the households that experienced service disruptions during connection, 15 per cent were left without internet for two to four weeks, while 13 per cent had no internet service for more than a month.
Among all internet users, meanwhile, 33 per cent reported slow data speeds in general and 36 per cent reported slow data speeds in the evening with varying frequency.
The research also found that, among households who connected to the NBN in the past 12 months, 31 per cent made a complaint to their current or previous NBN service provider.
Of those complaints, 15 per cent took longer than a week to resolve and a further 49 per cent remained unresolved at the time of the survey. Among all households that made a complaint, 20 per cent of complaints were resolved on the same day.
It should be noted, however, that the survey was underway around the time NBN Co announced the temporary halt on new sales of its hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) network due to issues with the technology.
It is understood the survey also took place before changes to the network builder's pricing regime came into effect, which saw top tier products become less expensive.
“There are a number of factors that can cause drop-outs including the amount of CVC purchased, modems, in-home wiring issues and retailer and nbn networks," a spokesperson for NBN Co said.
“We are working closely with our delivery partners and internet and phone providers to ensure that end-users understand the role of our network and what we control versus other impacts that may affect their service.
“We are committed to continue working closely with our retail partners to ensure effectively and efficiently manage complaint resolution for end users," the spokesperson said.
The ACMA research also found that cost was the top factor for customers when choosing an NBN plan or provider, with 86 per cent of those surveyed rating it as important. Coming in after cost in terms of importance were keeping existing phone numbers, confidence in faults being fixed and speed of internet connection.
The ACMA’s snapshot was informed by interviews undertaken between 13 November and 20 December 2017, with 1,881 NBN residential households surveyed.
It should be noted that the snapshot data is based on weighted survey data that represents all households in the areas surveyed that connected to the NBN in the previous 12 months. As such, the data is subject to statistical variance.
The fresh data comes as the ACMA releases the first of its proposed telco NBN complaints handling rules for public review and industry comment.
The ACMA said on 21 December it would impose the new rules on NBN retail service providers (RSPs) in a bid to improve the consumer experience in moving to the NBN.
“As we announced in December, the ACMA is putting in place stronger rules to improve consumers’ experience in migrating to the new Network,’ ACMA chair, Nerida O’Loughlin, said.
“Today we are releasing the first of these new rules for public comment. These cover telco complaints-handling processes and monitoring. Following consultation, the ACMA intends these rules to be in place by June.
“Telco customers deserve to have their complaints dealt with quickly and effectively. As industry co-regulation is proving ineffective in this area, we will put in place rules so that the ACMA can act more quickly to deal with non-compliance,” she said.
Article updated at 4:45PM on 15 March to include comment from NBN Co.