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Readers may recall that I have had more than my share of ongoing reliability issues with Telstra/NBN FTTN at my Central Coast home. I called it Trials and Tribulations with Telstra but I now add NBloodyN to that title.

Even five months later the original article (here) is still among GadgetGuy’s highest rating – many people have ‘Trials and Tribulations with Telstra and NBN’.

As a quick update, Telstra NBN 100/40 FTTN (Fibre to the Node) was installed at my Central Coast Home in July 2017. I did not spend much time there until 2018 when we decided to move up to this heavenly area (no jokes about God’s waiting room) to escape Sydney city life.

Around July 2018 I noticed more frequent drop-outs and slow upload speeds (upload is vital to me as I use a VPN, cloud and remote CMS publishing). I frequently complained to Telstra’s faceless Philippines call centre. The routine became a bad joke.

Trials and tribulations with Telstra

I spent over 40-hours complaining over four months, each time diligently answering the raft of pre-scripted questions, and resetting the modem. All because there was no continuity of staff or service. Each time Telstra said its line test showed it was OK then closed the incident. “All is well. Have a nice day.”

It was not well

Trials and tribulations with Telstra
When its not working it is not working – despite what the Telstra faceless Philippines call centre says

Coincidentally my last call to Telstra’s faceless Philippines call centre dropped out, and they rang me back just as the internet had been down for 18 minutes. A cheerful voice told me that the line was testing fine and they were closing yet another incident.

Perhaps, I lost my cool, affable and unflappable demeanour but that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

In early November 2018, I lodged a formal complaint with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) – it was easy to do online, and I thoroughly recommend it.

Why? It gave me an official TIO complaint number that I gave to Telstra’s faceless Phillippines call centre. Within seconds the matter was escalated to a level-one complaints officer – Elle (not her real name) and she stuck with it to the end providing that much-needed continuity.

At least now I had a dedicated person looking after my complaint

I had her employee number and an official Telstra complaint number – not a transitory incident number. I was able to send information to [email protected] You can’t do that with Telstra’s faceless Phillippines call centre.

Still, I could not easily contact Elle directly which was frustrating. BTW, after a while, Elle did give me her Telstra Email address so I could provide written information directly. I suspect we developed a Stockholm Syndrome relationship. Poor Elle.

Months of continuous tests resulting in megabytes of indisputable logs and data showed there was a problem.

I developed Windows batch files that ran Ookla’s Speedtest (same engine as used by Telstra) and Ping tests every minute. These show from three to 18 daily outages from three minutes to as long as an hour. During the test period (most of January to early March) there was seldom a day without at least one outage.

Trials and tribulations with Telstra
Not possible service outage – a definite one!

I concluded that it was either the copper wire from the NBN Node to my termination point (NBN responsibility and possibly more temperamental due to weather), Telstra’s modem (Telstra responsibility) or an environmental issue downstream from the termination point (MDF) in my home (my responsibility).

What happened next

NBN remote tested the wiring – it was fine. It may well have been at the time of the test, but the dropouts appeared to be environmentally related.

Telstra sent the third replacement (not the last) modem.

I minimised environmental issues: