MEDIA RELEASE - GOVERNMENT’S FLAWED NBN ROLLOUT SEES COMPLAINTS SOAR - 17 NOVEMBER 2016

Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, said the latest independent complaint statistics prove Malcolm Turnbull is stuffing up the rollout of the National Broadband Network – and it’s Australian consumers who are suffering.

“Today’s release of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) complaints figures for 2015-16 are a damming indictment on the Turnbull Government, which has shown blatant disregard for the lived experience of consumers on the NBN or trying to get connected,” Ms Rowland said.

“The figures show that new complaints about faults on the NBN soared by 147.8 per cent since the last report, with the overall number of NBN complaints now accounting for 11.9 per cent of all new complaints to the TIO.

“This is despite only 1.1 million active services on the NBN as of 30 June 2016, which comprises barely 3.8 per cent of the over 29 million fixed and mobile internet services in operation across Australia,” Ms Rowland said.

Ms Rowland said today’s figures are also further proof that the Turnbull Government’s rhetoric on its flawed NBN rollout stands in stark contrast to the lived experience of consumers, who are complaining to the TIO and their local Members of Parliament on a daily basis.

“The TIO report includes a case study of a consumer who tried unsuccessfully for two months to have an NBN landline and internet service connected at his home.  This is a type of complaint that I regularly deal with in my own local area, and I am well aware of colleagues for whom this is a regular complaint for their own constituents,” Ms Rowland said.

A huge concern is the 48 per cent increase in new complaints about internet data speeds, with consumers not receiving the speeds and quality they are paying for.  As Ombudsman Judi Jones told the ABC today:

‘Faults and connections are the main issues, delay in connection is a typical complaint, and once they are connected consumers tell us that they're experiencing what they believe are slow data speeds, unusable services and drop-outs.’

The TIO has reported more consumers are complaining about problems with their internet than in previous years.  New complaints about internet services rose by 22 per cent, the highest level in five years.

Ms Rowland said that a breakdown of NBN complaints by technology would be beneficial for future performance tracking, but even a basic analysis of the top 10 postcodes for NBN complaints in today’s report reflect higher complaints in regions where Fibre to the Node (FTTN) has been installed.

“The vast majority of the areas that have recorded the highest number of complaints, including the NSW Central Coast and Bundaberg, have been relegated to the Turnbull Government’s flawed copper-based FTTN,” Ms Rowland said.

“The Turnbull Government knew FTTN was never going to deliver the speeds and quality services that Australians want and need, but they are rolling it out regardless.

“More than a quarter of new complaints came from regional and rural Australia, further evidence that Malcolm Turnbull’s bungling of the Sky Muster satellite activation process is hurting consumers on the ground.

“Malcolm Turnbull promised he would deliver an NBN that would be faster, sooner and cheaper, but under his leadership rollout costs have blown out by $25 billion, and the evidence shows consumers are complaining in record numbers about their internet speeds because of a strategy he personally championed.

“Given the rollout of the NBN is not meeting the standards that Prime Minister set for himself, Australians can’t trust anything he says,” Ms Rowland said.