A survey of thousands of Australians by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has found half experienced phone or internet issues in the previous year.
While the TIO’s 6-month update isn’t due to be released until Tuesday, Ombudsman Judi Jones provided a preview of some of the findings in a speech delivered to telecommunications executives at CommsDay earlier this week.
Ms. Jones said the figures indicated potentially 10 million Australians had issues with their phone or internet service and more than one in five of those surveyed had multiple issues. Having issues is one thing, resolution another – and on that point things looked grim as well, with and one in four issues not resolved after four months.
Small Businesses Heavily Impacted
“For small businesses the picture is more problematic, with almost 60 per cent identifying a phone or internet issue affecting their business,” said Ms. Jones. “And almost 25 per cent had had more than one issue.”
For the most part, the problems weren’t minor glitches. Both residential and small business users rated the vast majority of issues as ‘serious’ or ‘very serious’.
“Phone and the internet services are essential services, making a vital difference to families, within communities and to business,” said Ms. Jones in comments published before her speech. “We all have to be proactive and accessible in managing the issues. We have to listen to residential consumers and small businesses, understand the impact of problems, and offer quick, supportive solutions.”
The full speech can be viewed here.
An independent survey last year of more than 1,000 small business owners across Australia found 48% had struggled with poor phone or internet connections. Of those, 70% said internet problems were impacting on their efficiency and productivity.
With the online world playing such a crucial role in commerce these days, fast and reliable business internet connectivity is no longer a wish-list item, but a must-have.
More New Draft NBN Rules Released
In related news, on Monday, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released a second set of new draft rules designed to help protect consumers moving to NBN services.
“These rules will ensure that consumers have the information they need to choose a service plan that meets their needs,” said ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin.. “They will also ensure that consumers have confidence that their new NBN service will work as promised.”
The draft rules can be viewed here (PDF). Feedback on the rules has been invited and can be submitted before 5 pm, 11 May 2018.
The first rules, relating to complaints-handling processes and monitoring, were released in March.
That new rules need to be implemented has been a sad indictment on the state of the NBN. With so many issues being reported, it’s no surprise some Australians are looking for NBN alternatives.