Today’s release of a nationally representative CHOICE survey has reported 62 per cent of Australian consumers experienced internet problems over the last six months, with NBN users reporting they faced slow speeds and drop outs 76 per cent of the time. The CHOICE survey also found:

  • 60 per cent of people on the NBN had issues with their provider in the last six months – 44 per cent of those issues were related to very slow speeds.
  • 42 per cent reported disconnections/dropouts/variable performance issues with their NBN provider in the past six months, while 31 per cent mentioned problems connecting to the NBN.
  • The incidence of problems remains consistent across various providers and across NBN connection types.

This comes after the Senate obtained a letter from the NBN CEO to retail providers which revealed end user satisfaction on the NBN had been trending down:

“Retail Service Providers, nbn and Service Delivery Partners are scaling to meet this challenge and we have several collaborative initiatives underway to improve processes and end user (EU) satisfaction. While we are heading in the right direction and steadily improving the majority of Service Levels including nbn Activation performance, the End User satisfaction is trending down.”

Source: QON 342, Additional Estimates, March 2017.


It’s no secret that Fibre to the Node (FTTN) is a significant driver of dissatisfaction — this was confirmed through the release of NBNCo’s internal survey data from February 2017 which shows FTTN is the least recommended technology by Australian consumers. 


February 2017 Advocacy

Fibre to the Premise


Sky Muster




Fibre to the Node


 Source: QON 362, Additional Estimates, March 2017

To put this in context, in April the Communications Minister declared 2017 would be ‘the year of the customer’, yet some odd testimony at the NBN Joint Standing Committee on 23 June 2017 revealed his Department had not decided whether to make a submission to the review of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), and furthermore were still “considering” whether to even meet with the consultants undertaking the review.

Source: Joint Standing Committee on the NBN, Friday 23 June 2017, p. 62 and 63.


What exactly is there for the Government to “consider” when it comes to dealing with consumer frustrations with the NBN? This indifference is remarkable given the TIO is at the epicentre of complaints. It is also bizarre that the ‘issues paper’ for the TIO review does not make a single mention of the NBN.

It really shows just how out of touch Malcolm Turnbull is when it comes to making this “the year of the customer”.  As usual, he’s all talk and no action.