Widespread NBN confusion

December 01, 2017

The News’ National Broadband Network speed test project finishes today with the publishing of the data we have gathered, plus the results of an online poll.

The project’s origins date back a few months to when we received a strong response from our readers about the NBN and how they believed it was faring.

We then printed stories about the experiences of local people with the NBN, positive and negative.

We then launched the speed test project, encouraging readers to do a quick speed test online and provide details about that speed, relative to the plan they are on and the technology that connects the NBN to their home.

Our results, albeit from a relatively small sample size, have brought forward some interesting perspectives.

In our online poll in which almost 150 people took part, 75 per cent of respondents said no when asked if they were happy with their NBN experience and service provider.

Some key themes developed from the speed test — those who reported they were on fibre to the premises plans received a higher percentage of advertised top speed than those who were not.

The worst results reported were from fixed wireless, some of which were from rural customers, that reported a significantly lower percentage of advertised top speed, when judged against the plan a customer was on.

What has become clear to us in the course of the stories, speed test project, poll, and general feedback, is that many people are confused.

Confused about what plan they are on, confused about what process they should go through if they are having issues, confused about who to go to first.

We understand that customers are meant to approach their service provider if they are having issues, but regardless of the process, there is frustration among some.

Customers may not be too fussed with what the process is, but ultimately just want the problem to be fixed in a timely fashion. In some cases, this is just not happening.

As an example, in the case of the story The News ran about the SheppVets, who were offline for several days, providing huge inconvenience for them and potential harm for their clients.

We also acknowledge there are plenty of people who are having a good experience with the NBN — the plans, technology and service is perfect for them and their needs and there is no cause for complaint.

The NBN — in terms of the rollout, technology, plans, service, and the politics of it — is complex and we will continue to delve into the issues.

We are pleased that many people are having a good experience, but it cannot be denied that there are also many who are not.

We look forward to continued feedback from our community about their experiences with the NBN, positive and negative.

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