So I know I’ve been quiet for some time on here. I’ve transitioned work (again). As per usual I’ve got a few hats on. I’m currently working as a Technical Evangelist for eGeek Consulting in Canada providing Evangelist services for some of their clients. On top of that I’ve taken on the role of Journalist in Residence at WeBreakTech.com, and I’m about to start another (supersecret) project as well.
All of this work is done from my home office. It’s a work in progress, but this is what it looks like currently:
Everything is on the up and up and I’m remembering the feeling you get when you work the long hours but they are actually worth it.
So now I’ve got great work that I enjoy, Aleesha has a great job at the local University that she absolutely adores and we both love living where we are. This is the first time since we’ve been married that we are truly happy and starting to settle in as a family.
We live here in Wyreema in the Darling Downs regions of South East Queensland. We’re a very short drive outside of Toowoomba – nor more than about 7 minutes usually. Wyreema is a beautiful, affordable place to live and my parents live about 4 blocks away which is great considering my father has a heart condition and his health is quite poor.
There’s a fairly major problem though. We moved into this house at the start of March this year and we’ve been waiting for (very very patiently) for a spare port in the local exchange.
Yep. That’s right. We’ve now been living in this house for over 8months and we still haven’t had our internet connected.
Now I’m not a silly guy. My parents live here and so before we moved here I checked out the internet situation as best I could.
Telstra owns the exchange it because it’s a small town exchange it’s Telstra only. This limits our broadband choices to Telstra themselves who want an arm and a leg for not very much really, or someone who wholesales Telstra under their own banner. We went with one of iiNet’s Telstra wholesale reseller plans dubbed “off-net”. This means that iiNet don’t own the physical hardware in the exchange, so you don’t get as good a deal as you normally would on their hardware but you still get a reasonable deal nonetheless.
Heres the timeline of events so far:
On Tuesday the 4th of March our phone line was connected.
On Thursday the 6th of March iiNet began the steps required to provision our Broadband.
Then, this happened:
There weren’t any ports available.
This wasn’t entirely unexpected. It’s a small (ish) town. What was unexpected however, was what happened next.
Nothing at all.
Every 10 days (or so) I get an email from iiNet informing me that there hasn’t been any further progress with my provisioning. I have quite a few of those and you know what? They’re identical. I know they’re identical because I checked. They’re the same automatically generated email that have been sent to me from day one.
Curious as to how the process works I tweeted iiNet on the 13th of April and was rewarded with this response:
That’s right. Its 2014 and there is no waitlist. It’s first come first served. I’ve always been taught that patience is a virtue and so I’ve been patiently waiting since March for a port to become available.
It’s difficult to put into words or even document how much money this lack of internet has cost me. Optus mobile network coverage is basically non-existent and so I can’t sign up for iiNet’s Optus provisioned 20GB of wireless broadband. Given my eternal optimism, I refuse to sign up for a post-paid Telstra Wireless Broadband plan and so this leaves me with one option:
12GB of Telstra 3G wireless broadband for $180. Yep, my only option in 2014 is to pay $15 PER GIGABYTE for mobile broadband coverage.
Working from home, especially doing the work that I do, I cannot go without internet access. Foregoing internet access means that I CANNOT DO MY JOB. Not being able to do my job means clients take their business elsewhere and I therefore don’t earn money.
I’ve also been working on an article for The Register in cooperation with Trever Pott. We put in a request for comment from iiNet and Telstra but we have yet to hear anything back. Trevor’s advice is to take this to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and I haven’t ruled that out yet.
Then, on Friday last week (the 31st of October for the record), this story took a turn for the… well lets just say there was an unexpected development.
My sister and her family moved from Bowen in Central Queensland, to a house 8 houses down from us. Naturally before she shifted called Telstra and arranged to have her home phone and broadband service disconnected from Bowen and reconnected here. She was told that her Broadband service would be connected by midday on Friday the 31st of October.
Lo and behold it was connected and working when we checked it on Friday evening. Somehow, in an exchange that is reporting no available ports, Telstra had managed to connect my sister to broadband.
I’m very very angry right now and those who know me best know that it takes quite a lot to push me to the point where I lose it. This shit has all but pushed me over the edge.
When I questioned Telstra about this via Twitter last week I was told that they couldn’t possibly discuss how she could have had her service activated immediately because it’s not my account.
When I enquire about how a port was made available to her that wasn’t available to iiNet I’m told to talk to iiNet because they are my supplier not Telstra.
When iiNet did a port check in my local exchange (which was only done last week for the record) there were no ports available.
SO CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME HOW ON EARTH THIS HAPPENED?
Right now, I want 2 things.
1. I want an explanation from Telstra how there was a port made available to here when I’ve been waiting 8 months becuase right now it looks to me like you’ve been withholding ports from their reseller’s in blatant violation of the law and previous judgements from the ACCC and the TCO.
2. I want a fucking broadband connection. I’m desperate. Its costing me huge amounts of money. In the last week I’ve used 7GB of 3G data. That’s $105 down the drain and that’s skimping. I’ve had to pass on work because I don’t have the connection to get it done. I can’t watch YouTube because it costs too much fucking money. I can’t even use Spotify anymore because that might mean I run out of data before there is money to buy more. It’s come to something when you can’t stream legal music because it might use too much fucking data.
So where do we go from here? Well tomorrow I’ll be lodging a complaint with the TIO. I’d do it right now but I can’t because I’m on deadline. I’ll also be resending my enquiry to iiNet and Telstra and cc’ing the ACCC because this has the stink of Telstra trying to force customers away from resellers all over it.
I’ll let you all know how it goes.
PS in all of this, iiNet has been as helpful as they can be. I’m not angry at them. It’s not really their fault Telstra are a bag of wiggling dicks and I don’t have internet.