Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.

Australia’s Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has released information on NBN-related complaints for the first time in its 2013-14 Annual Report, with most complaints over new connection delays.

With Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull blaming the former Federal Labor Government for declaring some areas NBN ready when in fact they weren’t, as reported by the Daily Telegraph, FTTP NBN supporters are likely to be criticising the Minister and his NBN Co in FTTN/Multi-mix mode for the delays the TIO is reporting 

3,982 NBN-related complaints were made in the 2013-14 financial year, with the Ombudsman reporting that “most were about new connection delays, with 1,122 internet users and 783 landline consumers reporting a delay”, with over 500 customers complaining about “missed appointments”, the bane of anyone having had to take time or a day off to deal with communications tradies late to fix or install broadband services.

TIO Ombudsman Simon Cohen said: ”Complaints increased every quarter over the financial year. This is predictable given an increased roll-out of the National Broadband Network.

"A theme in these complaints has been communication breakdown, with consumers often reporting that they don't know who to turn to solve their problem."

Clearly quite a few of those people figured out that the TIO was the place to go to get their NBN problems solved, despite the TIO claiming NBN complaints “proved difficult to resolve, with 800 conciliations and 98 investigations”, with over 18% of the TIO’s investigations relating to the NBN.

Mr Cohen added that: ”Resolving these complaints often takes time, and it can prove very difficult to put connections back on track when something goes wrong.

"The TIO has established a specialised NBN team in 2014, and is trialling new procedures to increase the cooperation between service providers and NBN Co to solve consumer complaints."

Thankfully, the TIO reported that 90% of consumers said they were satisfied with the TIO’s handling of their complaint, with 88% of conciliations completed within 30 business days.

"We have improved our performance in areas that are important to consumers and service providers, acting quickly on new complaints we receive," Mr Cohen concluded.

The report has plenty of other information, including a starting 19 telcos who had not joined the TIO “as required by law”.

Full details of the report are at the TIO’s Year in Review which can be read here (PDF link). 

Lower prices for multiple users on a single streaming account deliver the day people said they’d happily pay for content during the days and simplicity of Napster and Kazaa, with a very wide selection of music and a guarantee of being virus and malware-free the promise paid subscription services have delivered.

Telstra has tentacles in many pies, but with its latest move into the eHealth arena, it shouldn’t have to worry about indigestion - here’s the launch video and media scrum for anyone interested in seeing how the event unfolded.

Telstra has launched into what I remember a few years ago being called the next trillion dollar business - the health and wellness industry.

The Company has done this by becoming, in one fell swoop, Australia’s largest provider of eHealth services, spending over $100 million dollars to get to the starting point of today, with aims to create a “brilliantly connected healthcare future for everyone”.

We wrote about the launch earlier this morning, which you can read here, but this article has two new videos embedded below - the launch event in full at approximately 45 minutes, and the media scrum afterwards at around 10 minutes with questions from the assembled media pack.

Telstra aims to connect “patients, healthcare workers, hospitals, pharmacies and health funds”, as well as government, and is doing this “to build a safer, more convenient way to manage our health – with patients at the centre.”

Telstra is offering applications for health care providers, so healthcare businesses can be managed “in a smarter, simpler way”.

It is offering “connected care”, so we can “connect and share confidential data quickly and safely.”

Telehealth is a natural part of the equation, as is “Intelligence” so doctors and patients have “the tools to discover better outcomes and deliver data-drive patient care”.

The information from Telstra on its health initiative is at its website, with the specific section linked here , although Health is now listed at the top of the site as one of the headline sections.

The Company says it is offering solutions for government and insurers, hospitals, GPs, community pharmacies and for aged and community care, and list “six challenges to support the Australian healthcare system”.

These are:

Consumer Control - Providing people with greater control of their health and wellness

Connectivity - Increasing access to healthcare regardless of location

Admissions - Reducing hospital and aged care admissions

Integration - Improving integration of health information

Pharmacy - Creating a safer, efficient and more convenient pharmacy system

Efficiency - Improving efficiency and productivity across the system

It all sounds very laudable, so let’s hope Telstra is successful in delivering better outcomes for all patients, rather than simply creating the next big data-driven “Big Brother”.

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