Broadband network faults, provisioning complaints rise

Billing, network faults and poor customer service have again topped this year’s Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) report on customer complaints across dial-up and broadband Internet services.

According to the 2002/2003 annual report, released on Wednesday, 38.5 per cent, or 3347, of Internet service issues raised by customers with the TIO over the past year related to billing. Of these, 80 per cent were associated with charges made to the customer’s monthly bill.

Although the TIO has yet to record specific figures on the specific types of Internet services complaints are made against, the report found the number of complaints about billing for excess downloads had increased over the past year from 608 to 844, or 38.8 per cent.

“This may be a reflection of the growing use of broadband services and the larger volumes of data that may be downloaded fairly quickly using these types of services,” the report states.

The TIO did, however, break down complaints made in relation to network faults into different types of Internet access technologies. Out of a total 1775 complaints made regarding network issues, 19.9 per cent were against xDSL services (incorporating ADSL), 13.9 per cent against cable services and 2.2 per cent against satellite services.

In addition, the TIO reported that several new issues emerged during 2002/2003, such as a three-fold increase in the number of complaints made about ADSL provisioning.

“This corresponded with increases in landline complaints relating to declined ADSL applications due to the existence of pair gains or ANT 1 technology on telephone lines,” the report states.

In contrast, Internet faults relating to dial-up services were down from the 69.6 per cent recorded by the TIO over the 2001/2002 period to 63 per cent.

The TIO report also found that more than half of the 519 complaints made against Internet provisioning were about delays in connecting xDSL services.

“This is a significant increase on last year’s total of 99 complaints and may be attributable to an increase in take-up of ADSL services,” the report states.

Complaints against customer service procedures ranked as the third-highest customer grievance during the 2002/2003 period at 20.1 per cent (1744). Of these, the most common causes for complaint were incorrect or inadequate information (34.6 per cent), failure to act on a customer request (28.2 per cent) and failure to respond to correspondence (14.8 per cent).

Overall, a total of 8691 Internet service complaints was made in the TIO’s 2002/2003 annual report, down from 9494 the year before.

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Nadia Cameron

Nadia Cameron

PC World
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