NBN outlines efforts to boost customer experience

3 million households and businesses have signed up for NBN services

NBN says it is working to revamp its communications processes to ensure that retail service providers (RSPs) that sell services over the National Broadband Network are kept in the loop when it comes to network outages and similar incidents that can affect end users.

The company today said it had hit a new milestone in the rollout of its network, with 3 million active NBN connections. However, NBN said that the increased pace of the rollout and activations had put pressure on the customer service experience.

NBN’s chief network engineering officer, Peter Ryan, said that the company was undertaking a number of measures to boost customer experience.

Although NBN doesn’t deal directly with households, Ryan wrote in a blog entry that efforts to improve its communication of network issues to RSPs would help retailers keep end users in the loop when there are problems.

NBN has also been working on tools to help better identify connectivity faults. In September the company said that it was preparing to trial a diagnostic tool to identify problems with in-home wiring that could affect connectivity.

A new NBN Tech Lab is using a range of open source software to help analyse faults and help determine whether they can be remedied remotely or whether a technician needs to be dispatched, potentially cutting resolution times.

In his blog entry, Ryan said that NBN was undertaking a concerted push to eliminate all service tickets older than four weeks.

“Aged tickets happen when something out of the ordinary occurs that means we cannot connect the premises to the NBN access network,” the NBN executive wrote.

“It can be something as crazy as an unclaimed car being left for months right on the exact spot where we need to conduct some civil works.”

NBN is also seeking to ensure that “aged tickets” don’t appear in the first place, he wrote, by working with RSPs and delivery partners to ensure all parties are “properly aligned in the activations process and know exactly what is going on with each premises.”

“Our ultimate aim is to stop customers getting ‘ping-ponged’ between nbn and RSPs to solve a problem – we know this has to stop,” Ryan said.

As the number of premises connected to the National Broadband Network has increased, complaints have grown.

The government earlier this year tasked the Australian Communications and Media Authority to investigate end user experience on the network, gathering data from retailers, wholesale providers and NBN.

Last month, the network was subject to an unflattering report from the parliamentary NBN committee, which called on the government to ensure complete that as much as possible of the remaining fixed-line network is completed using fibre to the curb (FTTC) or fibre to the premises (FTTP).

The report of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network argued that much of fibre to the network (FTTN) infrastructure deployed so far as part of the NBN rollout “will likely need to be substantially upgraded in the short term”.

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