Resolving NBN customer complaints will soon get easier

The NBN rollout has been anything but smooth, with a slurry of customer complaints plaguing the national broadband service every step of the way. Even NBN Co admitted that "When it comes to customer experience, we know there is more work to be done". 

To make sure the end user has a better idea of the state of the NBN, the company behind the broadband service will now release a monthly public report to improve transparency. In addition to that, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has laid down a new set of rules for telcos to help improve customer experience when migrating to the NBN.

Calling the shots

The new rules require internet service providers (ISPs) to set up a complaints-handling process that focuses on the end user. This process will have to adhere to the minimum requirements as laid down by ACMA. Those minimum requirements now include keeping a record of the complaints and the resolution process for two years at the least.

The rules also require the complaints to be handled by senior staff and should be freely available to customers. Processes must also now be put in place that would be able to monitor and analyse complaints in order to identify systematic issues. This should, as ACMA hopes, stop issues from recurring.

ACMA will also allow customers to take escalating matters to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman if the telcos aren’t able to handle the issue within a reasonable period of time.

Public criticism is welcome

The new rules are a first step to improving customer experience, said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin. “Telco customers deserve to have their complaints dealt with quickly and effectively. As industry co-regulation is proving ineffective in this area, we will put in place rules so that the ACMA can act more quickly to deal with non-compliance," she said. “Together, this package will help consumers migrate seamlessly to the new network.”

The communications watchdog is asking for public feedback on these rules. So if you’d like to have your say, head to ACMA’s website by April 16 and make a submission.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, Sharmishta's main priority is being TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor, looking after the day-to-day functioning of the Australian, New Zealand and Singapore editions of the site, steering everything from news and reviews to ecommerce content like deals and coupon codes. While she loves reviewing cameras and lenses when she can, she's also an avid reader and has become quite the expert on ereaders and E Ink writing tablets, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about these underrated devices. Other than her duties at TechRadar, she's also the Managing Editor of the Australian edition of Digital Camera World, and writes for Tom's Guide and T3.