New and untried technology or business models almost always come with teething challenges. The National Broadband Network, commonly known as nbn™, is no exception. The nbn™ is a key example of an emerging technology and business with incredible benefits for Australians, but one that has arrived with its own set of obstacles that we need to master.
At present we have two major challenges when it comes to the nbn™. One is the time it takes to connect customers to the nbn™ network and the second, relates to download speeds (especially at peak times), once customers are set up and connected. These issues affect the entire telecommunications industry as well as nbn™ themselves - but I can speak specifically about what Optus is doing to deliver a better customer experience.
I’ll start by addressing the time it takes to get customers set up and connected to nbn™. Currently, an unprecedented number of people are migrating to the nbn™, as we transition from older copper and cable technology to new fibre-based technologies across Australia, suburb by suburb. As a result of the high number of migrations, the time it takes from a customer placing an order with us to having nbn™ installed at their property has sometimes taken too long. Where you live and the type of building you reside in also affects how long it can take to get you set up with nbn™. For instance, some households require remedial civil works (i.e. new cabling into the home from the street) in order to access the new network.
To alleviate these connectivity delays, there are a number of things we are doing. Firstly, nbn™ themselves is putting more technicians on the ground and secondly, Optus is establishing new systems and processes together that will make ordering and installing nbn™ quicker and simpler. For example, we are working with nbn™ to ensure any remedial work on your house is complete prior to accepting your order; that way your current service will remain in place until your house is nbn™ ready.
We have also implemented a system that allows us to see every Optus nbn™ order in flight so we can track and trace your order in the system; this will give us and you more transparency about the status of your order so you know exactly when you can expect its arrival and installation.
In terms of download speeds, there are a number of factors that can influence the actual speed you receive in the home at any time. One issue relates to the network capacity available to be shared across users at peak times (generally after school and at weekends). The industry is working with nbn™ to look at current wholesale price arrangements for this network capacity so that we can provide a better experience but at the same reasonable price.
The secondary issue relates to how your in-home broadband is setup. nbn™ speeds are heavily affected by the quality of your home wiring, building structure or Wi-Fi modem. These internal factors can affect the speed that you receive which might be less than the theoretical maximum speed of the service. For example, if you have an old modem/router or high speed Wi-Fi can’t penetrate your home walls, your network speed and performance will degrade. To tackle this, we’ve implemented a number of measures. Firstly, you’ll soon be able to self-diagnose performance issues with your nbn™ service via My Optus app. Through the app you’ll be able to track and trace your nbn™ order as well as test your broadband link and diagnose issues with your Wi-Fi coverage. We will also introduce Wi-Fi Mesh products (such as Google Wi-Fi) that provide better Wi-Fi coverage in your home. Being able to manage your service digitally means you’ll be able to fix problems whenever you need to. Secondly we’ll be providing more information on our website and our customer support platform Yes Crowd so you can find answers and advice on nbn™ 24/7.
Despite some initial challenges, there are many benefits of nbn™. From education and business to socialising and entertainment, speedy internet will be revolutionary across every aspect of life in Australia. It will transform the way we stream and download content, watch sports, play games and keep in touch with loved ones. We’ll become even more connected than ever before so we greatly appreciate your patience whilst we work to bring you this incredible new technology.
As always, if you have any comments or questions for me, please leave them below.