Newly-appointed NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue doesn’t officially start work until 1 September, but will have plenty on his plate from day one, thanks in part to a searing new report from the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA).

NBN consumer experience: Households and businesses – the end-to-end journey reveals that 42% of SMEs have complained about the NBN since connecting.

Additionally, 40% of SMEs experienced “downtime” in their service, with one in seven businesses being left without phone or internet for over a month.

Individuals were also left unsatisfied by their new network, with 31% of households making at least one complaint to their internet provider after migrating to the NBN.

Overall, 71% of both households and businesses experienced at least one type of issue or fault after connecting.

“These latest results are a clear indictment of a second-rate NBN that has been botched by this divided government,” said Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland and Shadow Minister for Small Business, Chris Bowen, in a statement.

“The competitiveness of small business will continue to suffer under non-existent leadership which has been seen under Mitch Fifield and the Liberals.”

The report focused on the experience of individuals and businesses that had migrated to the NBN in the 12 months prior to the research being conducted.

For individuals this period was from November 2016 to December 2017, while for businesses it was January 2017 to February 2018.

“As the number of consumers migrating to services delivered over the NBN has increased, so too has the number of reports of consumer problems,” details ACMA in the report.

“The focus of this work was to gain a clear and comprehensive set of information to achieve a better understanding of the type, incidence and causes of these problems.”

A lack of understanding

Although the report again highlighted issues with the NBN and performance, it also suggested that miscommunication had led to a number of these complaints.

“While most consumers believed they understood the steps in connecting [75%], around a third didn’t understand the different responsibilities of NBN Co and RSPs [retail service providers],” it states.

This was attributed to failing lines of communication.

Only half of all households said they could recall receiving information about how to connect from NBN Co, while 67% recalled being sent details from their RSP.

Of those who did receive information on how to migrate, around three-quarters (74% for NBN Co and 79% for RSPs) found it useful.

“Consumers who were more informed about the process and which plans would best meet their needs when connecting to services delivered over the NBN were better prepared for migration,” said the report.