Thursday, September 5, 2013

Customer fury at Netspeed outage

Canberra internet provider NetSpeed Communications has defended its handling of a service outage that has resulted in some customers being offline for 10 days without any information or support from staff.

Customers who contacted Fairfax Media said company staff were unhelpful and made no effort to contact them about the outage or tell them when the service would be restored.

Netspeed director Brian Morris said as many as 100 customers in Canberra's south had been affected when a wholesaler turned off a communications tower, but said more than half were already back online.

He said the company had no advanced warning of the shutdown.

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''We've been keeping everyone informed as best we can,'' he said.

''The Longreach wireless service we have in south Canberra has issues from the Mount Taylor and Mount Tuggeranong [access points].

''We are migrating people over as fast as we can to our Longreach2 product, which is the next generation and faster.''

Mr Morris said efforts to restore internet services from the original tower were continuing and any customers who had contacted NetSpeed had been updated on the problem.

The claim was disputed by two customers in Garran and the Tuggeranong valley. They said they had called and visited the company's Phillip offices but received no assistance.

No information about the problems had been posted on the company's website.

A customer who asked not to be named said staff warned him the outages could continue for another fortnight, before conceding they had no idea when service would be restored.

''I went to their office and saw a person who wasn't particularly sympathetic,'' he said.

''I think he'd had a gutful of complaints, that was the message I was getting.

''I am paying for a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week service and he couldn't tell me why they had not said anything to their customers.

''I am not after compensation. I want the service, but I have no idea when we are going to get it back, if at all.''

Mr Morris said staff members were working around the clock to fix the problem, and that payments would be refunded for the full duration of the outage.

In February, Mr Morris and the company were ordered to pay more than $100,000 in fines by the Federal Court for breaching their obligations as a telecommunications provider between 2006 and 2011.

The five breaches related to the failure by Bytecard, better known by its trading name NetSpeed, to repay aggrieved customers $2819.99 as directed by industry regulators.

Mr Morris was ordered to pay $37,500 and the company was required to pay costs.

Justice Lindsay Foster described Mr Morris' actions as disrespectful and said he used abusive language.


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