The ACMA has released its half-yearly (July to December 2018) report on 30 Australian Telcos, and it is not pretty. But it won’t name names and it should.
The ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) report
and uses July to December 2018 of mandatory reporting under new record-keeping
rules. It hopes to publish an update soon every quarter. The only problem – it has
not outed dodgy or repeat Telco offenders.
Key highlights of the ACMA report
846,454 complaints received (12.7% increase over
the previous period)
96,607 about NBN broadband provided by Carriage
Service Providers (CSP)
69,182 about non-NBN broadband, e.g. ADSL, wireless
etc. provides by major Telcos
13,508 about voice services over NBN (VoIP
controlled by a CSP)
34,936 about landline services over copper
174,562 complaints about mobile phone services
59,675 – other, e.g. dial-up internet, email, Webhosting
Let’s look first at NBN (December quarter)
Other (57.1%) – mainly billing faults.
The standout issue here is billing. NBN has created a
monster by having so many CSPs all with disparate infrastructure, routing, backbones,
backhauls, connections to international points of presence and billing systems.
These all impact on NBN faults and speeds, resulting in consumers demanding
refunds and charged for speeds (Tiers) faster than they can get. In other words,
an awful lot of flack thrown at NBN is the CSP’s fault.
The figures below are in SIO or services in operation per
10,000 customers – its ACMA’s way of weighting the number of complaints to the
number of services – and it hides the actual number of complaints!)
hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC)—226
Remember that 57.1% are relates to billing – not to faults.
FTTC is high because it was only first available in March 2018 and has since stabilised.
Summary of ACMA complaints
Mobile services had the highest number of
services in operation (30.1 million) yet the lowest rate of complaints
Voice-only services delivered by Telcos over the
NBN (using VoIP technology) had the lowest number of services in operation
(275,753) but the highest rate of complaints
Rate of complaints about broadband services
delivered by Telcos over the NBN is 40% lower than for services delivered over
Highest rate of complaints about broadband
services delivered by Telcos over the NBN involved the new fibre-to-the-curb
technology—however, this high rate of complaints was attributable to only a few
of the Telcos that provided data to the ACMA
Median number of days Telcos take to resolve a
complaint is six (Telcos have a maximum of 15 days to propose a resolution to a
Total complaints to Telcos increased in the
December quarter, while the proportion of complaints referred to Telcos for
resolution by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) is down.
The TIO responds (to the statistics)
The top five complaint issues for the period were:
18,845 – no action or delayed action by the
18,324 – disputed charges for a service or
8,025 – no working phone or internet service.
7,202 – delays with connections or changing
6,387 – intermittent service or
Complaints per State (in July to December)
Australian Capital Territory – 911
New South Wales – 19,321
Northern Territory – 339
Queensland – 11,585
South Australia – 4,615
Tasmania – 994
Victoria – 17,639
Western Australia – 5,580
Ombudsman Judi Jones said, “We are considering the data
published in the report. The telecommunications sector must continue to focus
on meeting the needs of consumers. The publication of internal complaint
handling data provides a more comprehensive picture of the consumer
experience and supports our work with regulators, government, and providers to understand
better the issues driving complaints to the Telecommunications Industry
GadgetGuy’s take – ACMA needs to do more to out dodgy
GadgetGuy is one of those with a formal TIO complaint against
Telstra/NBN that has been
ongoing for over a year with no resolution, so you will excuse me for not quite
believing that the average complaint rectification time as six days.
The ACMA report is a good start, but it does not go far enough.
Give us names!