Telstra BigPond dampens help-desk load

Telstra's BigPond ISP has moved to moderate the growth in help-desk calls -- driven largely by rising broadband demand -- by releasing an online tool that monitors the status of customers' connections.BigPond managing director, Justin Milne, said the BigPond Assist tool -- developed in partnership with an Australian software company -- had been trialled at the Launceston eLab before being made available for wide distribution.

Telstra's BigPond ISP has moved to moderate the growth in help-desk calls -- driven largely by rising broadband demand -- by releasing an online tool that monitors the status of customers' connections.

BigPond managing director, Justin Milne, said the BigPond Assist tool -- developed in partnership with an Australian software company -- had been trialled at the Launceston eLab before being made available for wide distribution. Its development was originally announced in July.

"BigPond Assist will monitor BigPond Internet connections, ensure browser and e-mail settings are correct and allow BigPond to send messages alerting customers to service issues, outages or virus warnings," Milne said in a statement.

Milne said the monitoring tool was being made available for Bigpond broadband ADSL, cable and dial-up services, with a version for ISDN and satellite customers still under development.

He stressed that the tool would not replace the BigPond help desk -- rather it would reduce the load of calls related to less complicated problems, freeing help-desk staff to focus on more complicated support issues.

Telstra announced on 18 October it had achieved its target of more than 1 million broadband subscribers by the end of September, with 533,000 of those being BigPond retail customers. The achievement was recorded more than a year ahead of schedule and was prompted largely by the telecommunications carrier's move in February to slash its price for basic residential broadband services to AU$29.95 per month -- roughly the same as dial-up and lower than the wholesale price it charged rivals to access its infrastructure.