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Australia sees drop in broadband complaints

Improvements are due to customers migrating to the NBN, says the Australian Communications Media Authority.

Background: In 2018, the Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) introduced stricter requirements for telecoms operators to handle customers’ complaints. This week, the ACMA has released data showing the impact of the new measures, related to the full financial year 2018–19.

Fewer complaints as customers move to the NBN: Complaint levels for telecoms services over the last year have dropped from 124 complaints per 10,000 services in the second quarter, to 97 in the final quarter of 2018–19. The median time taken to resolve these complaints fell from from 6 to 5 days over the year. In particular, it is worth noting that complaints about broadband services delivered over the NBN have reduced, and average 193 per 10,000 services compared to complaints about the old fixed broadband network which average 369. Satellite services had the lowest rate of complaints, with an average of 54 per 10,000 services, whereas fibre to the curb recorded a significant drop in complaint levels (744 in the first quarter, compared with 282 in the final quarter).

Less work for the Telecommunications Ombudsman: Unsurprisingly, such a drop in complaints translates into a reduced referral rate to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). These are down to 5.4% from a peak of 10.9%; however, the ACMA reports the overall number of complaints is still considered high with an average of circa 25k per year.