There’s been a crisis meeting today between NBN Co and retailers, with major issues including appointments for new connections and the long-running supply issues over HFC modems which mean that new connections are unable to proceed.
The meeting included participants from Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG and Aussie Broadband, with the stated goal of appeasing growing anger among these (and other) RSPs about customer service issues at the NBN Co.
The key issues for RSPs are the inability for NBN Co to reliably make appointments for new connections and for those experiencing problems with existing services.
Aussie Broadband has told Ausdroid that they’re exceptionally underwhelmed:
We’re very underwhelmed with the NBN briefing to RSPs today. We acknowledge and appreciate the apology from NBN about the situation, however we’re extremely disappointed that they would not commit to a timeline for resolution. It’s taken weeks for us to get to this point and without any guideline, we’ve got to assume that this is going to take weeks to fix. They’ve also announced they will delay the HFC restart, which is disappointing but we support that decision while these connect and assurance issues remain.
We’re still seeing significant numbers of orders that we can’t submit because no appointments are available, even though NBN have assured us there are extra appointments in the system. To be frank, this is totally unacceptable. We need a realistic timeline.
The lack of a clear outcome on either issue remains a live issue for Aussie Broadband, and doubtlessly other RSPs too.
We understand – thanks to the Australian Financial Review – that the issues stem from a new workforce scheduling system which isn’t working properly, and is causing issues with technicians unable to complete as many jobs per day as they were before. As a result, there’s a backlog, and appointments are getting bumped, or worse – cancelled.
This, on the back of a strike last week where workers walked off the job over pay and conditions, where excessive sub-contracting means that those doing the actual work are getting paid far less than they should be.
What’s it all mean? Basically, it sounds like the wheels are falling off at NBN Co. It’s been unable to connect new HFC customers for months, and there’s no end in sight. Workers have been walking off the job – and undoubtedly very unhappy when they’ve been on the job – over pay and conditions, meaning things aren’t going smoothly. On top of this, NBN Co has rolled out a new scheduling system which isn’t working, meaning appointments are being cancelled with little to no notice whatsoever, meaning RSPs and customers are becoming increasingly angry.
Short answer? No one wins, and if you have issues with your NBN connection for the next little while, if you require a technician visit you’re going to need an awful lot of good luck to get it resolved.