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PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 March, 2007, 12:00am

The column for anyone fed up with bureaucracy, frustrated with delays or furious with poor service. Tell us your complaint and we'll try to fix it...

Mr Ball of Mid-Levels, who had hoped to have Now Broadband TV connected at his new home, was told that the building he lived in had a 'technical problem'. After waiting for several months, he discovered that the problem was related to the expensive installation cost, which could be higher than the return the company might get.

'When I moved into my new rented apartment last June, I contacted PCCW to get my land line changed over and to have Now Broadband internet and Now Broadband TV installed.

'A technician turned up on time. He was very pleasant and efficient, and he connected both the land line and Now Broadband internet quickly. But he told me I could not have Now Broadband TV connected as the building had a 'technical problem', but I would probably be able to have Now TV in a couple of months.

'Well, I accepted this, but as I waited for more than a couple of months and heard nothing, I visited the PCCW showroom in Sheung Wan. Again the staff were very pleasant but they could tell me no more than that there was probably a technical problem with my building that prevented Now TV being installed.

'By this time, I wanted to know exactly what the technical problem was and if it had ever been encountered previously. The staff then gave me the number of the technical department. I rang that and got a person who told me he would ring back with a description of the exact problem. He never rang back and by this time I was beginning to become exasperated.

'I went back to the PCCW showroom, getting smiles and a repetition of the technical problem, but no one could tell me what exactly it was and why it couldn't be fixed. I said then, as I believe now, that a company of PCCW's expertise and ability claiming it cannot overcome a technical problem involved in installing Now TV is beyond belief.

'I kept ringing the technical department and I finally got a helpful young man who told me that the cost of connecting my building exceeded the return that PCCW would make from my monthly fee. I feel very disappointed if this is true because I was fobbed off for months by repeated and disingenuous replies from PCCW staff.

'Given PCCW's huge profits, I think that it could spend some money to look after its customers better, and this extremely dissatisfied customer in particular. The relatively small cost of connecting my building to Now TV would be more than repaid by the positive customer relations benefit and considerably less than the negative publicity that will result from my continued pursuit of this matter if it cannot be resolved.'

PCCW promised to upgrade the system and would have Mr Ball's building accessible to Now TV by July this year.

Clear Water Bay resident Professor Spinks says Hutchison Telecom has resumed the project to erect telephone poles that had been suspended last year after intense opposition from residents.

The telecom company planned to set up more than 200 poles to extend mobile phone coverage, with each six metres tall along Clear Water Bay Road between Silver Strand and Tai Au Mun, from where they snake down Tai Au Mun Road to Po Toi O and Tai Wan Tau roads. But the poles were considered an eyesore by residents, who thought the silver metal pylons were in total conflict with the environmental and visual impact of one of the most beautiful and scenic areas of the countryside.

The Lands Department asked the company to stop the project in October after receiving residents' complaints. But Professor Spinks discovered that there were some new notices all along the road saying the project would resume soon.

'Hutchison, far from being put off by the complaints ... is now trying to put up another set of poles along Clear Water Bay Road.'

He is wondering why the company is doing so and whether the land authority has any comment.

Hutchison Telecom (Hong Kong) said they had been conducting frequent discussions and site visits with the government and resident representatives from Sai Kung to work out a solution that can ease all parties' concerns.

The company recently submitted a revised proposal to the Lands Department, recommending a hybrid network approach, including erecting telephone poles only in areas where visual impact is minimal, such as sheltered areas and the bottom of the slope.

They would also use underground cables in areas where traffic congestion and inconvenience caused to the residents were not unreasonable.

'We are now waiting for feedback from the Lands Department,' said a spokeswoman, adding that the project was important in improving mobile coverage in the Sai Kung area.

A written reply from the Lands Department said that since October last year, the company had erected no further poles along Clear Water Bay Road and the authority had not approved the erection of any further poles.