More small businesses than ever before are pulling their hair out over telecommunications issues, according to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

There was a massive 31.3 per cent increase in small business complaints to the ombudsman during the 2016-17 financial year compared with the previous 12 months – up 4476 to 18,789.

This number eclipses the last five years of complaints, including 2012-13 where the ombudsman received 18,072 complaints from small businesses.

Of the 18,789 complaints, 47 per cent were about landline phone services, 30 per cent were about internet services and 23 per cent were about mobile phone services.

The most common issues were about customer service and faults.

In Western Australia, small business complaints made up 11.3 per cent of the 13,623 complaints in the state.

The worst suburbs for complaints were Mandurah at 469, Armadale at 393 and Wanneroo at 355.

Nationwide, residential consumers and small businesses made 158,016 complaints to the ombudsman, an increase of 41 per cent on the previous year.

Ombudsman Judi Jones said Australians were frustrated they could not rely on technology to stay connected, to be informed, and to do business.

“Sharing high quality videos immediately, holding an online meeting or watching Netflix on the way home, is now the norm and part of our daily routine,” she said.

“For the first time, complaints about internet services are now higher than complaints about mobile phones.

“Residential consumers and small businesses still have too many complaints about their customer service, a bill or faults.

“Complaints about services delivered over the national broadband network more than doubled, and while this is somewhat to be expected given the accelerating rollout, the increase is a cause for concern. 

“The national broadband network project is complex, and it is important all parties involved work together to ensure a great consumer experience.”