Peter Ryan

We’ve hit three million activations on the nbn™ broadband access network – while this is a massive milestone, we’re now focused on making connection to the nbn™ access network an even better experience for Australians.

Reaching three million activations on the nbn™ access network is a great achievement. We have added one million activations in the last six months alone, which is testimony to the incredible hard work of our employees and our delivery partners.

Our achievement really shows the success of the Multi Technology Mix model as we have now connected two million more customers to the nbn™ access network in the last 17 months – with 1.4 million of these connections coming from Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN) and Hybrid-Fibre-Coaxial (HFC). 

When Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) was our only fixed-broadband option (along with our Fixed-Wireless and Satellite services) it took nearly five years to reach our first one million activations in May 2016. And now with the introduction of the Multi Technology Mix we’ve added another two million customers in under 18 months. A fantastic achievement!

Putting it into perspective

While we may now be powering along in terms of adding homes and businesses to the network, we are very conscious that we have work to do in making sure they have an outstanding experience once they’re on board.

We know the vast majority of nbn™ access network users are connected without an issue and go on to have a great experience on the network but, unfortunately, that’s not the case for everybody.

Indeed, in some respects the speed of the build is one of the key reasons behind some of the challenges we’re facing in terms of customer experience.

When nbn was activating around 3,000–4,000 premises per week across the country – which was pretty much the case until mid-2016 when our FTTN activations really kicked in – activation issues could be easily managed.

Fast forward to now and we’re regularly activating more than 40,000 premises every week, which means we’re pretty much activating a city the size of Canberra every single month. This huge increase naturally puts pressure on the customer service experience.

So, what are we going to do about it?

Now the hard work starts

Well, the good news is that we’re already hard at work doing what we can to improve the connection experience and the online experience once people are connected.

In terms of getting connected, we’re focused on what we call ‘aged tickets’ within the nbn system – customers who’ve been waiting too long to connect to the nbn™ access network. Aged tickets happen when something out of the ordinary occurs that means we cannot connect the premises to the nbn™ access network.

It can be something as crazy as an unclaimed car being left for months right on the exact spot where we need to conduct some civil works. Yes, really.

We’re now working flat out to resolve aged tickets older than four weeks out of the system. We want these premises connected to the network as soon as possible.

At the same time, we’re also turning our attention to making sure that these aged tickets don’t appear in the first place by working with our delivery partners and internet providers to ensure we’re all properly aligned in the activations process and know exactly what is going on with each premises.

Our ultimate aim is to stop customers getting ‘ping-ponged’ between nbn and RSPs to solve a problem – we know this has to stop.

To help do this we want to give our delivery partners in the field the tools and resources to get that activation done right first time as much as possible.

We know just how frustrating it is for people to get excited about connecting to the nbn™ access network only to have the technician leave the premises without a connection in place.

We’re empowering our delivery partners so that the technician that visits your house has the tools to finish the job while they are there. We don’t want them leaving until the job is done.

The online experience

We all know how crucial the internet is to our lives these days so, when it is not performing well or drops out altogether – even only for a few minutes – it is incredibly frustrating for people and we completely understand that.

We also understand that the frustration is compounded when a customer spends hours on the phone to their RSP to complain about a problem only to be told there’s ‘no fault found’ and that everything is fine (when the customer knows it isn’t).

To help solve this problem we are improving our communications process with the internet providers to make sure we keep them informed of all network outages and incidents so when issues occur on the network they can keep their customers informed.

In addition, 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. 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.

The key here is we want to do more to identify problems where they exist and do what we can to solve them.

To be quite clear, this doesn’t mean we’re taking over the whole show – the internet providers remain responsible for a number of factors impacting the online experience.

Our focus is on making sure we connect users to the nbn™ access network in the best way possible and that we keep the network up and running so it’s there when users need it.

The internet providers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to their customer’s online experience. We cannot, for example, force the internet providers to increase their network bandwidth to avoid congestion – that is a matter for them.

Our role is to provide a great connection to the nbn™ access network and a reliable network so that together we can deliver an outstanding experience to our retail customers.

Reaching three million activations is a fantastic achievement for nbn and we know there is plenty more to do to get where we need to get to and we are working as hard as possible to get there.

New insights released today reveal a surge in usage of video on-demand streaming services and connected devices in Australian homes:

  • Australia’s internet usage has grown by more than 20 per cent in the past 12 months and has quintupled in the past five years.
  • The average Australian home connected to the nbn™ access network is downloading more than 161GB of data each month, which is the equivalent of streaming around 53 episodes of Game of Thrones in HD. This has increased by 20 per cent compared to last year and is around 1.2 times the national fixed-line average and 73.2 times the mobile average.
  • Almost half (48 per cent) of download data used during peak traffic time (6-11pm) on the nbn™ access network is driven by people using on-demand entertainment services such as Netflix and Stan.
  • The use of smart devices is expected to rise by 124 per cent as the average household amount grows from 13.7 in 2017 to 30.7 in 2021.
  • Australian households are predicted to have 12 simultaneous applications connecting to the internet over multiple devices during peak periods by 2020
Peter Ryan

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