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.
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Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.