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'Stunning' growth in self-employed women on NBN

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Australian women who have access to the NBN are up to 23 times more likely to start their own business at home, an analysis of 10 million households has found.

The new figures will be released by NBN Co on the same day as the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman will reveal it has received 22,827 complaints about retail services delivered over the NBN.

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Complaints plague the NBN

The latest report from the telecommunications ombudsman contains little joy for the national broadband network, showing the rollout continues to be plagued with problems.

Outgoing NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow will look to downplay negative public perception on Tuesday in a speech to the National Press Club saying that in percentage terms the results of female business growth "are stunning".

"The number of self-employed women in NBN regions grew at an average 2.3 per cent every year, compared to just 0.1 per cent annual average growth in female entrepreneurs in non-NBN areas," he said.

"If this trend continues, up to 52,200 additional Australian women will be self-employed by the end of the roll-out due to the “NBN effect”.

Research firm AlphaBeta used figures from the 2016 Census to find the NBN network generated an additional $1.2 billion of economic activity in 2017 by comparing statistical areas of 10,000 people that had the NBN with those that did not.


The report's author, Andrew Charlton, a former economic advisor to Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd, said the study looked "at the fundamental reason of why the NBN was begun."

"Understanding how it is affecting Australian lives and how it’s affecting the australian economy," the AlphaBeta founder said.

"These are statistically significant results. There would be fewer Australians working from home, fewer Australians learning online, fewer Australians connecting with online health services without the NBN."

The NBN has blown out in cost by more than $15 billion since its construction began and by the time it is completed the final taxpayer bill is expected to be as much as $60 billion.

"After an investment like this, that is what you want," said Mr Charlton.

The NBN has also been dogged by consumer concerns throughout its roll-out but NBN Co said it had seen a 16 per cent decline in the rate of complaints between July and December 2017.

NBN Co chief customer officer, Brad Whitcomb said "the slowdown in the rate of complaints was encouraging".

"NBN Co acknowledges there is still more work to be done, particularly at this critical stage of the roll-out as we balance prioritising customer experience without taking our foot off the construction pedal," he said.