Software yet to be mastered by staff

The switch by BSNL Chennai Telephones from a meter-based billing method to an integrated Call Detail Record (CDR) billing system last month is facing teething troubles.

Online bill payments and virtually all transactions pertaining to new landline-broadband connections, telephone shifts or closure requests have hit a roadblock as the mechanics of the new CDR software is yet to be mastered by the staff.

The CDR features such a level of sophistication that there is little scope for manual intervention and because of this, personnel are finding it difficult to issue advise notes for executing work orders, sources said. In the BSNL's chain of command, work orders have to be generated for the specific tasks to be allotted to JTOs concerned.

“We have intensified re-training of personnel and expect the workflow to be smoothened out in two to three weeks,” an official said.

Meanwhile, users registered online with the portal of BSNL Chennai Telephones have also complained about inability to pay their latest monthly bill.

Though users were sent e-mails detailing the login/password details at the new portal (http://portal.bsnl.in), they have not been able to complete the registration steps as they are yet to be provided the unique handle (a ten-digit account number) that will replace the consumer number in the old billing system.

Browser support

Several BSNL users also said that the new portal to which BSNL migrated the database of its online users does not support browsers other than Internet Explorer.

Officials said steps would be launched to ensure that the portal supports alternative browsers shortly.

Once the teething issues are sorted out, the benefits of the CDR billing system will become more obvious to the customers, officials said. For one, from a user standpoint, the new system provides higher billing transparency and usage monitoring than meter-based billing.

For the telecom operator, CDR-based billing integrates the spectrum of customer engagement process, from order management and line provisioning to payments and accounting.

The convergent billing in the CDR system, which is on the lines of credit cards and mobile phones, can also absorb next generation services such as Voice over Internet Protocol, Video On Demand or IPTV on a single billing platform, officials said.