Australian broadband network company says it is working hard to improve customer experience, communications with retail partners

Australia’s NBN has activated 3 million premises on its next-generation broadband network and insists that the rate of growth is to blame for the recent bad press it has suffered.

In total the NBN broadband access network passes 6 million premises, the network operator announced. It has activate 1 million premises in the past 6 months to reach the 3 million milestone, it said.

"We’re regularly activating more than 40,000 premises every week," said Peter Ryan, NBN’s chief network engineering officer, in a statement.

"This huge increase naturally puts pressure on the customer service experience," he admitted.

Complaints about NBN have featured prominently in the Australian media in recent months, with anecdotal evidence suggesting customers are frustrated by being unable to connect and by the quality of their connection, amongst other things.

"We’re already hard at work doing what we can to improve the connection experience and the online experience once people are connected," Ryan said.

He explained that NBN is focusing on so-called aged tickets, where customers have been waiting a long time to connect to the network. Its immediate aim is to solve all tickets older than four weeks and connect those customers as soon as possible, he said, as well as working on the activations process to avoid creating those tickets in the first place.

"Our ultimate aim is to stop customers getting ‘ping-ponged’ between NBN and [retail service providers] RSPs to solve a problem – we know this has to stop," Ryan said.

The company aims to improve communications with its retail partners, ensuring they are informed of network outages in order that they can keep their customers up to speed.

"We’re also developing new network diagnostic tools to help the Internet providers to identify problems on the end-to-end network where they exist," he added. "For example, we are working on a system that helps us identify where there may actually be problems in the customer’s in-home wiring or modem."