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  1. Lynn Baldwin
    11/09/2018 @ 12:32 pm

    Hey Ron, Lynn Baldwin here. Your bundle is for home phone and internet, right? What do you do about mobiles which Bob and I both have but seem to be paying heaps? We have been Telstra customers for 48 years!!!!! Ours is Home Internet Small Bundle Deal around $178.20 per month. HELP!!!! Need more advice.

  2. David Haddow
    21/09/2018 @ 8:18 am

    Ron Abernethy and Subscribers,
    Ron suggested that I post my NBN experience here as it may be useful as a learning tool for some subscribers in regards what to expect of the process, what could go wrong and some important questions to ask and have clarified before committing to the switch to NBN.

    My situation is that I live in Canning Vale and until June this year was a satisfied Telstra ADSL subscriber
    From early in 2018 I was made aware by any number of contacts (SMS / Letter Drops / Emails) that the NBN Roll out was imminent in my part of Canning Vale.

    In late June 2018 I received confirmation from NBN that the service to my area had been rolled out and that I had 18 months before being mandatorily required to switch to NBN, but they strongly recommended that I should make the switch ASAP. I held off for a month or so but after positive reports from my neighbours who had taken up the NBN service I contacted Telstra and spoke to a Telstra Consultant about the switch.

    This conversation was in the form of an “ONLINE CHAT” with the Telstra consultant. I chose this contact method because I had several questions and wanted to get a “hard copy transcript” of exactly what was said and by who for future reference. This decision proved to be very helpful for me later in the process when I needed to “demonstrate” to Telstra exactly what I was promised and state my case for assistance / reimbursement.

    The key points in that discussion with the Telstra consultant were
    • Advised that NBN via FTTN (Fibre to the Node) was available at my residence.
    • Since my internet plan was relatively new (6 month) I could switch to NBN at no cost.
    • The NBN equivalent to my current ADSL internet plan ($99 per month for unlimited data and home phone) of up to 20.1Mbps would be a plan called “Standard Evening Plus” with typical minimum speeds between 7-11pm of 40Mbps download and 15Mbps upload. Typical speeds outside the 7-11pm timeslot would be 45Mbps Download and 15Mbps upload.
    • I would require a new modem as my current one was incompatible with NBN and this would be supplied to me by Telstra via post in 10-15 working days and I could self-install it. As part of that self-installation arrangement there would be a Telstra technical contact number provided where a Telstra Technician would be available and could talk me through the installation process.
    • I advised the consultant that I would not be confident about a self-install arrangement because there was a lot of services hanging of my existing ADSL arrangement as follows.
    o As I live in an over 55 Lifestyle village each residence is required to have connected to their phone service a “Back to Base Panic / Emergency Phone”.
    o I also had a standard home phone arrangement (Base station with built in answering machine) that was connected to 2 other pod phones strategically located around my residence
    o For these phone services to function correctly a “line splitter” was required and installed at my wall socket.
    o In addition to these I had a number of direct connections from my modem to my Smart TV and various TV steaming services (Foxtel IQ including Foxtel on Demand, Vast Satellite TV and Telstra TV.
    o Finally, I also had Netflix included as a feature on 2 new TV’s in our residence and these 2 TV’s and all of the other streaming arrangements would require conversion and connection to the new modem arrangements (ID and password). Additionally. there was the connection arrangements of all of our telephony and computing components (Mobiles / IPads and computers) to the new NBN modem.
    • Because of the degree of complication that all of these services presented I wanted the help of an in-house Telstra technician to install the new NBN service to ensure that everything was working ok.
    • I was advised that the cost of having a Telstra tech perform this service was $180 which I agreed to and I went ahead with authorising the transition to NBN.

    The order was placed with Telstra and the order timeline was as follows:
    o 22nd July – Order placed and confirmed.
    o 27th July – NBN Conversion Kit Delivery by post (essentially a cable that was never used).
    o 7th August – NBN Technician Appointment.
    o This activity was performed remote to my residence – essentially the NBN technician connected our telephone service to the NBN Node in a large Telstra Service box located adjacent to my lifestyle village.
    o These 3 steps all occurred as per the schedule including a text from the NBN technician late on 7th August to say that he had connected me to the node, had “pinged the line” and all was “go”.
    o 10th August – Telstra Technician Appointment and Activation Date.
    o Tech arrived and stated that no new modem would be required, nothing needed to be installed as my existing ADSL modem was a “New Generation” unit and was compatible with NBN. A discussion ensued about the pro’s and cons of keeping the existing modem in play or replacing it with the new NBN unit. I was annoyed that the Telstra consultant I had originally discussed all this with had checked my account, could see the type of ADSL modem I had installed and had advised me that it would need to be replaced. I was insistent that it be replaced but the tech did not want to do this. The tech eventually contacted his supervisor who told him to keep the customer satisfied and if I wanted the modem replaced then to go ahead and do it. At the completion of the modem installation and all of the connections being completed the tech tried to activate the service without success. He arrived at the conclusion that the NBN had either not been connected at all or had been done incorrectly by the NBN tech on the 7th August.
    o The Telstra tech stated that this issue was up to me to sort out with Telstra / NBN and wanted to leave saying that he had completed his part of the work contract. I insisted prior to him leaving that he go through with me all of the TV’s and associated streaming services to ensure that they all recognised the new modem and were connected and functioning correctly. This was done and the Telstra tech left.

    It took me 3 days and many calls being subjected to the normal Telstra departmental run around (their attitude was “We have confirmation from NBN that your service has been switched over”) before I could get any sort of a resolution.

    Finally, I got onto someone in the Telstra technical department who listened to me and agreed to check it out, gave me a reference number, promised to advise me what the situation was within 24 hours and provided me with a direct return phone number to contact him direct.

    True to his word this individual did come back to me within 18 hours full of apologies advising that he did not know what had gone wrong, but I was not connected to the NBN. He further stated that he had contacted NBN advising them of the situation and they had agreed to investigate the matter and report back within 72 hours.

    Very close to the end of the 72-hour time frame I was contacted back and advised that my NBN service was now definitely connected and activated.

    I tried my service and no speed or performance improvement from ADSL was obviously apparent. I ran speed checks via Oookla and monitored the situation over the next 48 hours. The maximum speed I could get was 22Mbps download and about 2.5 Mbps upload. I contacted the Telstra technical department tech who had helped me before and he and I jointly performed several checks (including Telstra’s own speed tester) to try and analyse what was happening. These checks just confirmed the sub-standard speeds I had reported

    These speeds were also confirmed by Ron Abernethy at a later date by making a direct connection between my computer and the NBN modem to ensure that there were no internal “speed blockers” in my residence.

    The tech concerned said he would undertake further investigations and advise me in due course. Within 24 hours he had contacted me back very apologetically stating that the Telstra technical department had reviewed my connection and “IT WOULD NOT SUPPORT NBN SPEEDS”.

    No real explanation was given except to say that the copper network between the node and my residence (approx.400m as the crow flies) was deteriorated and could not handle the higher NBN speed. Very frustrating because I have neighbours 40m away who are getting the full NBN experience. The only plausible explanation is that the Lifestyle Village I live in was developed in different stages and I live in stage 2, built in 2007. The Telstra network was distributed around the village as each stage was built and the copper network I share could be a lot further than the 400m as the crow flies or could be a victim of substandard connections introduced to service the new building stage. All of my neighbours who are experiencing the full NBN experience reside in a different stage of the village to myself. Final wash up was that what I was getting out of the line currently was as much as I could expect. I was also advised that there was not much chance of this situation improving in the future!!

    I discussed this situation with one other provider (TPG) who after listening to my story stated that it would be very unlikely they could achieve a better result for me.

    I was extremely disappointed and the whole exercise had left me very annoyed particularly as I had paid $180 for the installation so I contacted Telstra seeking some recompense. Again this was quite a chore and took me nearly 2 weeks to resolve (many calls, the normal Telstra departmental run around, most calls unreturned despite promises to the contrary) but eventually I got the $180 refunded (This is where my hard copy “chat transcript” came in handy to demonstrate what I was promised and how my expectations were not met).

    Despite these trials I still feel that Telstra offers the best overall package for my wife and myself and will be sticking with them.

    Learning Points from my experience:
    Chat Transcript:
    I consider myself lucky that before entering into any arrangement with Telstra I had initiated an online chat that I could get a hard copy transcript of which clearly recorded what was asked by me, the responses given, the services promised and what my expectations could be. This proved invaluable as I could obtain extracts from that hard copy to demonstrate to Telstra what was promised and could not be denied by them. I am not saying that without it Telstra would not have come to the party with a refund, but it certainly made the argument easier to present.

    Questions to Ask:
    o Are Telstra absolutely sure that the line to your residence can support the full NBN experience?
    o What plan are they offering you (e.g. “Standard Evening Plus”, how much will it cost and what are the typical minimum speeds – Between 7-11pm (should be around 40Mbps download and 15Mbps upload while typical speeds outside the 7-11pm timeslot should be 45Mbps Download and 15Mbps upload.?
    o If you are an ADSL subscriber is your current modem a “new generation” unit and as such is it compatible with NBN – it may be that you don’t need a new modem or to pay for installation.
    o If you choose to self-install your new NBN modem – What exactly do Telstra mean when they say you can access back up technical support via a telephone call.
     Consider that as part of this self-installation you will need to convert and connect all of your telephony and computing components (Mobiles / IPads and computers) to the new NBN modem ID and password as well as any Smart TV’s and / or various TV steaming services (Netflix, Foxtel IQ including Foxtel on Demand, Vast Satellite TV and Telstra TV etc).
     Believe me this can be quite difficult and unless you have someone like Ron Abernethy behind you to assist can be a real mission.
    o If there is a high degree of complication with connection to all these services and you opt for a professional installation from a Telstra tech, how much will this cost and what can you expect??
    o If things go wrong and if for any reason you do not get the service promised what is your recourse for investigation, additional help and even a refund of this professional installation cost.

    Handy Telstra Contact Numbers:

    David Haddow – 21/09/2018 – 5am.

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