Monday, 23 October 2017 11:44

Problems plague transition to NBN for Aussie households: survey Featured

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Problems plague transition to NBN for Aussie households: survey Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over one million (45%) Australian households who have connected to the national broadband network experienced issues when transitioning across to the service, according to a newly published research report.

Online comparison website iSelect says a new Galaxy Research study it commissioned to assess the attitudes of Australian households towards broadband services, reveals that 1.3 million Australian households who have connected to the NBN had issues with their transition.

And, according to iSelect, Australians now voice concerns about the speed of their broadband service, not so much about price and data allowance as previously raised.

According to the study, just over a third (36%) of Aussie homes have actually made the move across to the NBN.

And, just 44% of homes with the NBN said their home Internet was meeting their expectations and allowed them to “do everything they want online”, compared to 40% of those using ADSL2+ or other connection types.  

But, once connected, those homes with an NBN connection were slightly more satisfied with their internet service, the research reveals.

iSelect says the research also revealed that many Australians are very confused by NBN speed tiers despite the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's recommendation for Internet providers to move away from unclear language such as “up to” when describing NBN speeds.

According to Laura Crowden, spokesperson for iSelect, the arrival of the NBN means customers now need to take speed into consideration when choosing the right broadband provider and plan.

“Aussies are used to choosing a home broadband plan based primarily on price and data allowance. For households moving across to the NBN, it can be really confusing to understand what the different NBN speed tiers mean and decide which one is right for them.”  

Crowden welcomed the ACCC’s request for retailers to make it clearer for what speeds customers can expect during peak periods.  

“This is definitely a step in the right direction but there remains a lot of variation between providers in terms of both their speed ranges and the names they use to describe them,” she explained.

“Terms like ‘boost’, ‘max’ or ‘superfast’ do little to clarify what speeds customers can realistically expect during busy times such as evenings.  It’s no wonder that many customers remain bamboozled by what the different NBN speed tiers will actually mean for them in reality.”  

Crowden says Internet providers have designed their plans around the NBN’s four speed tiers (12, 25, 50 & 100 megabits per second) but the NBN Co — the builders of the NBN — “does not consider 12Mbps plans to be superfast broadband”.

And, according to Crowden, many households are automatically opting for the cheaper NBN 12 plans without realising they are likely to be similar – or possibly slower – than what they experienced on ADSL2.  

“Both our demands and expectations of home internet has shifted in recent years, with the number of connected devices increasing dramatically in many homes. The right speed tier really depends on your internet needs and how many people and devices are connecting simultaneously,” she explained.

“Households that have embraced internet streaming services such as Netflix, have multiple connected devices or regularly work from home really need to look at a NBN 25 speed tier plan or above to their expectations are met in terms of speed and reliability.”

While Aussie households may still be grappling with the different speed tiers available under the NBN, reliability remains their single greatest priority for their home internet connection (31%), followed by price (27%) and speed (26%).

Crowden said the research revealed that Aussies were most annoyed by connection delays (41%) or interruptions (38%) to their Internet connection.

“Just over half (57%) of Aussie homes have experienced problems with their home Internet speed or reliability in the past six months, with those already on the NBN slightly less likely to experience issues (54%).”

Crowden said this highlighted the importance of seeking expert advice to find a broadband plan that offers the right balance between price, and speed and reliability.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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