Saturday, December 31, 2016

I am on speed and the ham bone

If you are reading this, we are now connected to the National Broadband Network and it works. This is a hybrid system, an invention of our present government, where some will have first class fibre to home internet, and some won't. Ours is fibre to the building and then comes through our copper telephone wires. We have chosen to go with TPG, the company that wired up our building for fibre and installed electronic boxes in our basement. Mind, the NBN has boxes there too, as does another company and then a new empty electronic box appeared just before Christmas, but it is empty.

I will digress a little. Mother had her medical alert system connected to the NBN for free and she did not request it. NBN has run past Mother's place for some time and as I understand it, once you can connect to the NBN, you have 18 months to connect and then your copper phone system will be shut off. I called up about Mother's phone and when it might have to be switched to the NBN. The person I spoke to wanted her details, but I refused, saying I was just making a general enquiry. I received the appropriate answers. All good. In a remarkable coincidence?, the next day Mother was called and told by a technician he would visit her home on a date in February and connect her phone line to the NBN. She will be given a new phone at no charge and I think she may pay less for her phone service.

It was quite a simple process for us to connect to the NBN. It will cut our phone/internet bill from about $130 a month to $70. There is a one off charge of $30 and the modem was free with an 18 month contract. The data is unlimited and the speed up to 100mbs. I have just checked and mid afternoon on school holidays when it is unbearably hot outside, it is about 70mbs and the upload instead of Telstra's miserly at best 5mbs, is nearly 40mbs.

I ordered the service on the 23rd, the modem arrived on 28th and later that day a tech person sent me a text saying to call him when we received the modem. I called and he could do it the next day, the 29th. He arrived promptly at midday, plugged in the modem and the phone into the modem and then went to the building's basement and perhaps twisted some wires together and voila! We have NBN.

We keep our phone number, although it may take 24 hours before it is back to working order. Six hours after the changeover, we can call out but can't receive incoming calls. We have free calls to all Australian phones including mobile phones, with the exception of 1300 numbers, and 100 free minutes overseas calls.

While I am pleased to be free of the Telstra shackles, it was with some sadness I called and cancelled our Entertainment Super Bundle. I've been a Telstra customer for 40 years and an internet customer since they gave a very cheap deal on cable internet connection in the late 1990s when we lived in Balaclava. I am also a very minor shareholder. But unless Telstra can offer us something better, our mobile phones will be next.

This cable around the corner will disappear.


And it has. It is an expensive cable but very stiff and hard to store. To the rubbish room.


Sitting in this corner of the kitchen makes the new modem not so visible to guests. It can broadcast to the west wing of our apartment, that is my bedroom. Off topic, but what can you do with a leftover Christmas ham bone? Pea and ham soup, hence the soaking dried peas and amazingly I will be cooking.


Too big missy. It won't fit. I have handy hacksaw at the ready. Cleanliness in the kitchen is so important, don't you think.



It is now the Friday the 30th. R was banging on and on about why we could not receive calls on the home. Around 10.30am I called TPG. The technician said if our phone did not work 24 hours later, we should call. It was 22 hours later. After about 45 minutes on the phone, I was finally advised that the porting of our phone number could take up to 5 working days and I should be patient. We then went out. By the time we were home, a little after 1pm, the phone was working correctly. We should have trusted the technician. 

Yesterday after two failed attempts a month or two ago, and a fail by Mazda Service because of a change of our email address, finally I rid our computer of any programme that said Mazda and downloaded their latest application to update our sat nav and finally it worked. No longer are we warned after crossing the Sandringham train line in Greville Street Prahran that there is a level crossing ahead. The outbound red light camera in Dandenong Road at Chapel Street was removed many years ago, so it will be interesting to see if I still get a warning about that. I like Gattina's name for her GPS, Madame GPS, or something like that. We now call ours that.  

I really felt we were on top of matters tech.......until I decided to log in to the TPG website to change our generic password, as I had been told to do. About an hour later, the internet was not working. I spent the next hour on the phone to TPG tech support as she followed her script in front of her. It seemed I should have changed the password for the modem as well. The password was reset to the old one and I ain't touching that again. To note, TPG's tech support is vastly superior to Telstra's. I spoke to about four different people, and from their accents, they were all in the Philippines, but they were great and I could understand them. It was so much quicker to talk to someone than Telstra's laborious phone tech support. 

The desktop, the printer, two mobile phones, two tablets and the tv are now all connected to NBN. Is it in practice faster? Yes, for downloading video files. The very naughty Sven's videos arrive much faster, but for web browsing, not noticeably so, remembering that our cable internet was very fast.

12 comments:

  1. Andrw technoogy is really amazing now..Good luck

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    1. Gosia, and more reliable than ever, but not yet perfect.

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  2. About three months ago mysterious paint markings appeared on the back laneway entrance to my building. A few weeks later a notice from our Body Corporate explained these markings are in preparation for connection to the NBN. We were advised the NBN connection would be to the building and further connection from the building to individual apartments would be through existing conduits installed by Foxtel.

    I asked the BC Chair when this might occur and his response was 'probably next year'. I assume he was thinking 2017 but maybe he was being more farsighted.

    I am in trepidation. I have chained myself to the dreaded Telstra to such an extent - landline phone, mobile phone, tablet, internet provider, subscription television service - I fear the horrors of any variation to service delivery or service responsibility.

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    1. Victor, break free. Once all settles, you will be glad.

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  3. I don't understand a word about NBN and my eyes glaze over when the instructional ads come on tv. What do older people without a helpful child do?

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    1. Hels, I haven't seen tv ads. My mother is a classic example, and she has been dealt with well.

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  4. Impressive. I am not going to hold my breath waiting for the NBN to land here. And will undoubtedly become confuddled by the changes when it does.

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    1. EC, I am surprised that your area is not high on the list to be done. So much for people of influence in power.

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  5. So do you get your Entertainment Bundle equivalent via NBN now? That's a good deal. I am surprised, and a little disappointed, to hear that web browsing isn't significantly faster. Could that be because you have fibre to the building and not right to your apartment?

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    1. River, no we don't. We used it briefly and did not like it much and haven't bothered. We only took it to save $10 per month. No doubt fibre to our phone plug would be better but I am quite happy with the speed. As I said, ours has always been fast.

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  6. Unbelievable you have such cheap and fast internet available with phone. That would cost a fortune here. In fact I pay $40 per month, on a yearly contract I must beg to renew at such price, every year, to the local monopoly, comcast, to get their slowest internet, which often spools endlessly or won't get moving at all, if I attempt to stream anything. I bought a modem to avoid their $10 per month modem rental charge.

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    1. Strayer, the price of net access has fallen a lot over the last year or two as people demand faster and better allowances.

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