Northland broadband and phone provider Uber Group has carried out a survey of its own customers after a survey organised by Northland Inc reported widespread dissatisfaction with broadband.
“We were concerned at the low numbers who were satisfied with their broadband. While some respondents in the earlier survey were identified as being on the types of connections we offer – rural wireless and fibre – we wanted to know the extent of the overlap between the customers who were satisfied with their broadband, and Uber customers – something the other survey couldn’t tell us,” says Uber MD Hayden Simon.
“We were really pleased to see that over 69% of our customers were ‘very satisfied’ – a completely different result to the Northland Inc survey. We were also pleasantly surprised with the number of responses we received – 941 compared to 1500 in the other survey.”
“This leads us to think there are other factors at play in people’s dissatisfaction with broadband. In a number of cases people can’t take advantage of better services because of the cost, particularly in the rural space where any solution other than the traditional copper lines has a higher setup cost attached to it. We would like to see a realistic evaluation of the services available with affordability and other factors taken into account, and some more creative solutions put forward such as subsidies for the setup cost of rural broadband alternatives which are available across the board, irrespective of the provider customers chose. This could well be a better use of taxpayer dollars.
“Something else we see on a daily basis is customers with old, defective or borrowed wifi routers, or complex wifi setups, expecting to get a good broadband experience. This applies particularly to new fibre customers who can be very disappointed if they’re not well advised. It’s not at all unusual for us to be delivering a fast connection at the point the customer plugs into it, but with factors in their own environment making their experience less than ideal. We suspect one of the reasons for our high satisfaction rating is that we spend a lot of time working with customers to get to the bottom of issues like this.”
Mr Simon said Uber is planning some new developments in their network so the company took the opportunity to find out more about services that would have the most appeal to its customers. Given the large number of responses, he said he felt very confident about moving forward on the basis of the information provided.
Uber’s survey was run online using the same process as the Northland Inc one, and was lightly incentivised with the chance to go in the draw to win one of ten $10 account credits.
Uber Group covers around 80% of Northland from Te Kao to Wellsford with its rural wireless broadband network and also resells fibre services over the Northpower Fibre network in Whangarei. It is one of the largest independent rural wireless operators in New Zealand.