There are two of us here at gadgetguy.com.au writing about our experiences with Telstra NBN, and it’s going badly for both of us. And now, it seems, I for one have been abandoned by Telstra.
Before getting into it too far, let’s do a little tldr:
On 31 May I lodged an order for NBN for my home
office with Telstra. I asked for the $90 package – the standard $100 50Mbps
tier, minus the phone connection.
Some weeks later, I received an email from
Telstra saying that they were going to be connecting me up in a few days … on
the $100 plan.
I called up and said I ordered the $90 plan,
So, Telstra cancelled my order and said “Sales”
would contact me to start a new order.
Of course, that would mean going back to the end
of the queue again.
And now, four weeks later, “Sales” have still
Outcome: I’m still on ADSL speeds two orders of
magnitude less than what would have prevailed had the NBN never been
Telstra NBN pre-ordering arrives
As I explained back in March, even though the infrastructure had been installed up the street from me, and even though TPG and Aussie Broadband had been offering me pre-order deals, I could get no useful information out of Telstra.
But, of course, I persisted, and eventually I found that I
could lodge an order for NBN on 31 May this year. The chap I spoke to at
Telstra was helpful, but he gave me to understand that once my order was
lodged, it would still be quite a few weeks. He promised to call me on 31 May
to take my order.
I didn’t wait. On 31 May I called the order line myself,
rather than wait for Telstra to call me, and I lodged an order for NBN for my
home office with Telstra.
That’s the kind of thing that truly assures one of the
technical competence of one’s Internet provider!
Maybe as much as three months
The email added, “We’ll send you email updates as your order
progresses and will contact you within 8 weeks to confirm your technician
appointment.” Eight weeks? Damn. Still, since the email was partially
incomprehensible, I allowed hope to triumph over experience, and continued to
entertain the possibility that it might be a week.
So, around a week later I rang up to see if installation was
imminent. But then I was told it could take from eight to twelve weeks. Indeed,
it could take from four to six weeks before Telstra had even appointed a
Connections Manager for my order. Typically, I was told, that the total period
to installation was six to eight weeks. I would be contacted in due course.
A fortnight later I received a follow-up automated email
that “wanted to let [me] know that we’re currently processing [my] nbn order.”
And then on 2 July, only a little more than four weeks after
my order, I received an email saying that my NBN would be going in, in another
13 days thereafter. Hooray! I’ve been waiting for this for more than a dozen
I read through the email. It, for the first time, outlined the
details of my order. It was the “Business Bundle Standard”, priced at $100 per
month. It included my good old landline telephone number. And that, dear
reader, is not the $90 per month connection I’d ordered.
Calling Telstra NBN for help
I rang the number in the email and explained the situation. I was told that a new order would have to be raised for the $90 plan. And that would push back installation. A case manager would be assigned the next day, and I could expect to hear back within five business days. My case had been “escalated” to the sales team.
Of course, I did not hear anything back within five business
days. But I did hear back on the sixth business day, 11 July. The fellow was
not with sales. He was chasing up whether sales had called back. I told him
they hadn’t. He told me he was emailing them right then to tell them to call
me. Meanwhile, he said, he was putting a hold on the order because if it went through,
then later there would be interruptions to my service while it was being
changed to a non-phone order.
I pointed out, firmly but civilly, that:
The order I had placed was a non-phone NBN
connection. The mistake was by Telstra.
I did it on the very first day I was allowed to
– 31 May – because I’ve been waiting for years for the NBN. I should not be
penalised for Telstra’s mistake.
From my point of view, Telstra is Telstra. It
doesn’t matter to me that it may be composed of different parts such as a sales
team and others. That this is Telstra’s fault and that my order should not be
delayed because they messed up.
Alas, that was to no avail. He said he was putting my order
on hold and that I could expect to hear from the sales team soon.
It almost goes without saying that now, almost three weeks
later, I have not heard from the sales team. I have not really heard from
Oh, I did get an automated email on 11 July, “Are you ready
to get connected” with certain things I’d need to do in preparation for my
to-be-cancelled 15 July installation. And another on 12 July relaying
“Important info to get you connected”.
Finally, on 16 July, I received another automated email
confirming that my NBN order “has now been withdrawn.” Not suspended. Ended.
Oh, and yes, I’ve been sent yet another damned Telstra
modem. I think that brings me up to four unused Telstra Modems.
I going to make a bold prediction here: when my order gets restarted, I reckon I’ll get yet another Telstra modem. These things can’t be cheap. I don’t want even one since I plan to use my D-Link Cobra.
And even though Telstra seems to fling modems around like confetti, it expects you to pay for them. The Business plan doesn’t lock you in. “If you leave,” says Telstra, “simply pay out your modem.”
Will I ever get Telstra NBN?
Two months ago, when I lodged my order, I was about as
excited as I have ever been by a tech thing. I was looking at my Internet
speeds going up by a factor of eight.
But now, two months later, I’m still on the same slow ADSL
I’ve been on for more than a dozen years. And I haven’t heard from Telstra at
I supposed I should call them, but the prospect of spending
more time on the phone lodging an order which may not be properly implemented
is putting me off.
Now, I’m not the general population and I ought not
extrapolate my experience to the rest of Australia, but I do have to wonder how
regular folk – those not comfortable with technical matters, for example – cope
with this kind of thing.
I have to say, it’s pretty damned hard to recommend Telstra
as a service company.
And I’m saying that as someone who has been a paying
customer of Telstra for 39 years.