After the complete silence at the end of the previous instalment of this saga1, my partner rang the NBN people while I was still asleep (I had the day before come back from some field work and was knackered). They indicated that a technician would come on Monday 21st of March to fix the problem with our connection. Currently, between dropouts, it has been running download speeds of about 26 Megabits per second (Mbps), about half what was our normal speed prior to this last 7 months of drama2.
Out of the blue, at about 10am today (Friday, March 18), we got a phone call from the NBN to say they would be coming to ‘have a look and try to fix the problem’. A couple of blokes rolled up at about 11am and asked us what had been checked. I told them that the modem had been checked twice and replaced (eventually), then checked again, and that the connection to the house had been checked twice and rewired once and that the telegraph pole to which it was attached had a connection box which was dangling in the breeze. So, they seemed to think that the cable going from the house to the telegraph pole needed replacing, so replace it they did.
After replacing the cable, the NBN technicians asked me to do a Telstra NBN speed test3. I did so on my laptop and our download speed was 11.4Mbps. We had gone backwards. So the NBN blokes said they would get the NBN to do a speed test because, they said, the Telstra speed test is ‘not very good’. If that was so, why did they ask me to do it? They told us that the cable they replaced has been chewed at in places by ‘animals’. While I am no ‘animals chewing at wires’ expert, I could only see what I suspect is age-related decay of the covering of the wires in the old cable (it was dumped in our recycle bin by the technicians). Before the NBN technicians left, they told us that the NBN had done a speed test on our connection and it was fine, but that we needed Telstra to do a ‘reset’. To do a reset, my partner rang Telstra and we talked to a bloke in Hyderabad, and apart from disconnecting cables and reconnecting them, I had to get a paperclip, straighten one end of it and stick it in the modem’s reset hole for 15 seconds. After that we just relayed to him what the lights on the modem were doing; whether they were on or not, what colour they were, and whether they were flashing or not. After one hour on the phone, it was decided that the ‘slow speed issue’ was unable to be resolved and the problem had to be shunted further up the Telstra food chain; we were told we would get another phone call from Telstra within 24 hours. However, before he signed off, he tried to convince us that our account was for the slower speeds (11.4Mbps) we were getting. We very quickly and politely disabused him of that.
For a while after the Telstra call, the download speed was still very slow at about 11.4Mbps. However, a couple of hours later, the download speed came back to what it had been before our dramas started 7 months ago, i.e. at about 53.6Mbps. It seems to have remained there for the last few hours. Dare I hope that this drama is over? We will see. I just did another speed test and the download speed had dropped to 38.7Mbps. Five minutes later, it is 40.1Mbps. Another couple of minutes and it is 44.9Mbps, then two more minutes it is up to 53.7Mbps. Another ten minutes later and it is 29.9mbps. Sigh.
The following day, Saturday, March 19th, the speed seems to have settled down to where it was before our dramas started. One can only hope.
By now I think I would be bald having pulled out my hair with frustration.
Hope it stays good for you now.
So do I. I started this blog as a way of stopping myself shouting at the television. I also started documenting this saga as a way to protect my hairline!
Telstra, Optus and TPG were fined heavily for misleading customers about NBN speeds. If you aren’t getting what you paid for then you should complain loud and long to Tls, pointing out the ACCC’s previous comments and Tls’ guarantee: “Telstra stated it would test the line speed 21 days after connection and promised consumers “If your nbn connection doesn’t allow you to properly benefit from the speed tier you’re on, we’ll provide you with a maximum line speed, once it’s available, along with alternative options”. The ACCC pointed out that they don’t have that capability.
Compensation could be one remedy but you can be certain of one thing – if you don’t complain (should problems persist) and don’t mention the ACCC/TIO then you’ll almost certainly get second rate service.