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NBN touts 3 million activations while conceding rollout pace is causing issues

The multi-technology mix is great, says NBN, but it is causing customers grief.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

NBN is boasting its network has hit 3 million activations, while detailing steps it will take to reduce the pain for customers getting onto the network.

Chief network engineer Peter Ryan said in a blog post the company had added 1 million customers in six months, and hailed the use of fibre-to-the-node and hybrid fibre-coaxial. However, Ryan also trotted out the claim that it took NBN five years to reach 1 million customers, which fails to acknowledge the time taken to create its backhaul and back-end systems, which form the heart of the NBN.

Ryan said although the company is currently lighting up 40,000 premises each week, it is putting pressure on NBN's customer service areas.

"In some respects the speed of the build is one of the key reasons behind some of the challenges we're facing in terms of customer experience," he said.

In response, Ryan said the company is looking into removing the number of issue tickets that have been logged for more than four weeks, to launching tools to help diagnose faults, and will attempt to end the ping-pong between NBN and its retailers.

The company has come under fire recently, for the blame game that can exist between NBN and the telcos, and for only being able to connect 9 in 10 premises at the first time of asking.

"Can you imagine if my local fish-and-chip shop was selling hamburgers, and one out of 10 of them was creating food poisoning? Do you think that would be OK? The answer is clearly no," Shadow Minister for Regional Communications Stephen Jones said last month.

"Why should it be any different for an essential service?"

Renters still left behind

(Image: Rent.com.au)

While NBN has passed the halfway mark in its rollout, the situation is different for those renting their homes.

According to data from Rent.com.au, only Tasmania and the Northern Territory have over 50 percent of rental listings available with NBN, with the Territory leading the nation with 92 percent of homes listed with NBN, and Tasmania on 88 percent.

The other states around Australia are sitting in a band between 37 percent and 46 percent, with only the ACT to continue to sit below 50 percent at the end of the year, should NBN hit its yearly targets.

"Our sample is not every property in Australia, but with over 70,000 active rental listings at any time, across all states, it is a large sample," said Rent.com.au CEO Greg Bader. "With so many new properties added and removed each day, our sample is extremely current and allows us to provide a unique perspective on changes."

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