Last month I wrote about the plight of a group of residents in a greenfields estate in Watson, who have been almost 8 months without a fixed-line phone or internet connection. You can read all about it here.
After making that post, there was a small amount of fuss kicked up:
A member of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy contacted me via The Riot ACT and promised to look into my entitlements under the Universal Service Obligation. I fully understand that my entitlement to a mobile phone in the situation falls under the USO, and if you can find a Telstra fixed-line phone rate that is cheaper than my current Virgin Mobile cap plan, I’d take it. But that’s not the point, if this was Telstra, under the consumer guarantee, there would be strict time frames to comply with in connecting us to a service. Unfortunately, NBNCo does not have these same obligations. Upon my questioning of NBNCo’s accountability, the DBCDE employee went strangely silent.
NBNCo got embarrassed by the post being shared on Twitter and asked me to provide my case number, promising to look into the situation. After a prompt a week later and promised to let me know soon, I have still not received a response from this inquiry.
I contacted Andrew Leigh’s office and as far as I know, his staffers are still “looking into this” – I’ll be chasing them this week.
NBNCo’s customer service line made some progress and passed me onto the manager who was looking after our block… oh joy, oh rapture, we were finally getting somewhere!
Speaking with this manager, now in the first week of February, I was told that construction had finished that week and to call him back on the 15th, when he’d be able to give us a connection date. If everything went according to plan, he said, we’d be connected by March. Other residents in the building were given the same information.
We should have learned by now not to believe what NBNCo tells us.
Sure enough, I call on the 15th and get the manager’s voicemail. I leave a polite message and instead try customer service, who tell me that our case hasn’t been updated since late January. Odd, but I leave it with the assurances that they’ll update us after the weekend.
And the update came:
The Fair, Watson will be one of the first new developments in ACT to connect to the National Broadband Network (NBN). NBN Co is working with The Fair, Watson to install fibre network infrastructure in your estate.
There has unfortunately been a delay in rolling out the NBN in your estate. We regret any inconvenience caused to you by this delay, we are working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. At this stage the estimated first order date for a connection through your selected Service Provider is End of May 2013.
If you have already moved in to your home you may be eligible for a Universal Service Obligation (USO) phone service from the universal service provider, Telstra. For more information about receiving a USO phone service, please visit the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s website at http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_1717, or call Telstra on 13 22 00.
In the meantime you can find out more detailed information about the NBN by visiting www.nbnco.com.au or calling the NBN Co Contact Centre on 1800 OUR NBN (1800 687 626)
In what way is it fair to ask a customer to wait indefinitely for a service that should be standard to any home? How is 11 months without a fixed line phone or an internet service appropriate barely 10km from the CBD?
NBNCo has not given any explanation as to why our service has been delayed yet again and I think it is only fair that we have some answers.