Govt calls for investigation into NBN complaints

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Govt calls for investigation into NBN complaints

The government has called for a review into NBN customer's experiences in the wake of the war of words between the company managing the network and retail service providers.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority will work with the Department of Communications and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate the most common issues with the NBN and the best way to avoid or remedy them.

The investigation hopes to reduce the number of complaints passed between NBN and retail services providers by collecting data on fault handling, connection time frames, appointment keeping and telephone number porting.

Communications minister Mitch Fifield said 21 industry participants would be included in the investigation, including retailers, wholesale providers and NBN Co itself. The investigation will also cover a range of technologies used in the network for both households and businesses.

Complaints about the NBN more than doubled by the end of 2016, according to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, totalling more than 14,000 complaints. Connection speeds were the biggest issue, increasing 141 percent.

The investigation comes amid mounting pressure on NBN Co to reduce or revamp its wholesale price structure to allow ISPs to buy enough bandwidth to support their customers.

NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow blamed ISPs for promoting a "land grab" mentality to sign up as many customers as possible with no regard for service quality. He added that ISPs were charging customers prices that were lower than they were willing to pay, which drove down speed and services.

“The large number of competitors going after the same customer has driven price to be the key attraction and seldom do you see any clarity around speed options or quality during the peak time of day,” said Morrow.

Last month, the ACCC put the call out for volunteers to participate in its own investigation into slowing broadband speeds across the country.

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