Thursday, 11 April 2019 01:51

ACCAN laments consumer experience with ‘unreliable’ telco services Featured

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Telecommunications consumer interest lobby group ACCAN says the overall fall in complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman over the last six months indicates that consumers are broadly benefitting from action taken by the telco industry regulator – but lamented the fact that “tens of thousands of consumers have experienced unreliable telco services”.

And the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network has called for further steps to be taken to enforce stronger consumer safeguards in the telecommunications sector.

In a sharp response to the complaints report, ACCAN chief executive Teresa Corbin said, “With Australians becoming increasingly dependent on our phones and internet, reports that tens of thousands of consumers have experienced unreliable telco services is deeply concerning."

She says the TIO’s report shows that NBN service quality complaints per thousand premises added to the network have nearly halved year-on-year, “potentially due the introduction of the ACMA’s NBN Line Testing Determination that was introduced in late September 2018”.

“As we head towards 2020 with the aim of connecting every Australian household to the NBN, it’s positive to see that steps such as these by the ACMA are making a difference to consumers’ NBN experience.”

But, Corbin said that while the report outlined a change in the trend, “the nearly 61,000 complaints show that there is still more work to be done”.

ACCAN describes one of the most positive changes in the TIO’s six-month update as being the decrease in NBN-related complaints – noting that while the NBN rollout has continued to connect hundreds of thousands of homes, the percentage of connected consumers escalating complaints to the TIO has fallen.

“The TIO’s report shows that NBN service quality complaints per thousand premises added to the network have nearly halved year-on-year, potentially due the introduction of the ACMA’s NBN Line Testing Determination that was introduced in late September 2018,”  Corbin said.

ACCAN points out that the determination outlines a series of obligations that telcos have to consumers to ensure their NBN service is working as promised after installation. This includes an Internet speed test that ensures customers are delivered the speeds for which they are paying.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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