Doorstop - TIO Annual Report > Mitch Fifield, Liberal Senator for Victoria

CONTACT SENATOR FIFIELD

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Electorate Office
42 Florence Street
MENTONE VIC 3194

Phone: 03 9584 2455
Phone Toll Free
(Vic only): 1300 797 110

Parliament House Office
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Phone: 02 6277 7480




18-October-2017

Doorstop

Parliament House Canberra
18 October 2017

11:30am (AEST)

 Text Box: Subject: Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Annual Report

E & OE

 

JOURNALIST:

Mitch Fifield, his phone works, but there are a lot of complaints, a lot more complaints to the telecommunications Ombudsman about the working of the internet and telephones?

FIFIELD:

Well the overwhelming number of complaints that the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman receives relate to retailers as opposed to the NBN. What we’re seeing is that complaints about the NBN are rising pretty much in line with the rollout of the NBN. One of the reasons why there weren’t complaints about the NBN under our predecessors was essentially no one had it. We now have the NBN available to about six million Australians, about three million Australians have connected to the NBN. It’ll be 75 per cent by the middle of next year and all done and dusted by 2020.

JOURNALIST:

Are you happy with 160 per cent increase in complaints about the NBN?

FIFIELD:

The NBN complaints are increasing in line with the rollout of the NBN. In the last financial year, the NBN was made available, a 100 per cent increase on the previous period. Now, what we’re seeing is a couple of sorts of issues. The migration to the NBN network. And that’s something will only have to do once. The other sort of issues is people’s expectations in relation to speed. And we have a number of things in place to address that including the ACCC embedding probes in people’s residences so that they can report on the real speeds that people are experiencing.

JOURNALIST:

Delays in getting connected are the biggest issue. Is the Government doing enough to people connected? I mean this is an essential service.

FIFIELD:

The NBN is being connected at a rate of 40,000 premises a week. As a result of the approach that we’ve taken the NBN will be completed by 2020 which is six to eight years sooner than would have been the case under our predecessors.

JOURNALIST:

Are you happy though with this level of complaint? Is this something the Government is comfortable with given its causing so much angst in the community?

FIFIELD:

I never want to diminish the experience of any individual or business that isn’t all that it should be. NBN is working hard to reduce the complaints. NBN, from those areas that they have responsibility for, are getting it right the first time on about nine out of ten occasions. But obviously we want to improve upon that. A lot of the reasons that people are putting forward for their issues with NBN relate to retailers rather than the NBN itself.

JOURNALIST:

It is an essential service, you know we use it for medical things, for education, all those kinds of stuff, does it need to be treated like power and water?

FIFIELD:

The internet is an essential service. People expect it to be there. Just like they expect water and electricity to be there. Under our predecessors, the NBN was essentially something that existed only in theory. As a result of our approach, the NBN is now available to more than half of the nation. It’ll be available to 75 per cent of the nation by the middle of next year. And everyone will have access by 2020.

JOURNALIST:

Some of the complaints have certainly been about speed and reliability, you know people saying that ADSL too was faster and more reliable. What do you say to them to those who have those complaints? Are you doing enough?

FIFIELD:

NBN will have a mandated minimum speed of 25 megabits per second. And 90 per cent of the fixed line footprint will be able to access speeds of at least 50 megabits per second. So it’s a high speed network. It’s fit for purpose. Where people have issues in relation to speed, they should contact their retailer. It might be an issue that they’ve got the wrong modem. It might be an issue with their in-house wiring. Or it might be that retailers need to be doing more to ensure that they purchase the capacity that their customers need.

JOURNALIST:

So you’re confident that there’s nothing structurally wrong with it, it’s not the copper wire that you’re putting in that’s the issue?

FIFIELD:

NBN is fit for purpose. The approach that we’re following with the multi-technology mix is one that is used in the United States and in Europe, using the technology that makes sense in an area to see the NBN rolled out fastest and at lowest cost.

JOURNALISTS:

Thank you.

ENDS