Dear fellow readers,
For 10 weeks, I had no internet at home. It wasn't by choice, (I mean why would anyone ever make that decision), and you could only imagine in this day and age how difficult it would have been to not be connected.
It all started when I decided to move out, away from my beloved TPG ADSL2 connection. I used a third party provider to arrange an Optus internet connection, who gave me an installation date, and things were all set to go for when I moved into my unit. Looking back now, if only things were so easy, oh silly naive me.
First week shock moving in. No internet. No parents. Finding out my partner's nocturnal sleeping habits. And so many chores! Installation date is next week. I can do this. Knowing my installation date was a week away, I happily did things I normally wouldn't do without the Internet, like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, learning how to cook, sorting out my new home, and interacting with my partner.
I also forgot to set Steam to offline mode when I moved out, so I couldn't access any of my games either.
The installation date came and went, with no call from Optus or the people who arranged it for me. After a few days, I followed it up and got an ambiguous answer from the third party provider about how Optus would not service my unit. I received a letter in the mail from Optus, that confirmed as much with no explanation whatsoever. For a communications provider, they certainly lacked communication.
Hopefully it won't be too long before we get connected...we start to leech internet at our parents place. I start playing some old DOS games on my computer (Tex Murphy anyone?)
That Ben guy
also asks where the hell his review is and cannot believe that it's taking so long for me to get it to him.
So we're left to our own devices, trying to connect internet to our place. There's Telstra cable already installed in the unit, but after figuring out the extortinate price, we started researching ADSL2. We called Telstra to get our phone line connected, and here's where the weird things started happening. They told us that in order to get naked DSL, we had to get the phone line connected, and then it would be disconnected again. Does this make sense to anyone? We went ahead with it anyway.
Also managed to get Ben his review by downloading a 9 gig game at the parents place and playing it offline at home. I mean all they do is Youtube and stuff, they won't notice right?
Getting antsy. How am I supposed to do my online shopping? How am I supposed to join Left 4 Dead 2 game nights? How am I supposed to play any games, or chat to friends, or keep updated? I've finished my puzzle. I've finished my DOS game. I've been using my phone to go on forums and email.
So Telstra comes over and connects our phone line. "By the way, you can't get any ADSL on this connection" the technician says. WTF? That’s the only reason why we wanted it connected! So it's a $125 connection fee that we have to pay - all for nothing.
We check out several ISP's anyway. There's no ports open at TPG. Optus wouldn't service us. No one is telling us why ADSL is not available on our line. After "chatting" with Telstra for a bit (I say this like it was a casual conversation, but it wasn’t), we finally get an offer that will waive the $125 connection fee if we select their $70 cable plan. We keep it as a secondary option, unwilling to pay that much.
It isn't until the partner calls up iPrimus, who tells us that our infrastructure is a split line system owned by Telstra, that we figure out why we're having so many problems with finding a willing ISP to service our unit.
ClubTelco are confident that they can get us installed and they give us an installation date 10 days later. Finally, we will have internet soon! I figure out that I can use my phone as a USB modem through the 3g connection. This is ingenious, because it means I can finally make Steam appear offline and play some games!! Hurrah!
I start playing Mass Effect 1 with the need to be included in the ME3 discussions while it's still hot. At least, I can do things like go on my email, check out the forums and do some online shopping. And shop I did, and way too much (withdrawal symptoms). It won't be too long before the Internet is installed, right?
Installation date came and went. We didn't hear anything from ClubTelco. I receive a "Welcome to ClubTelco!" Membership letter in the mail. The partner calls them up, and they inform us that we haven't been connected yet and it should be a few more days.
Received the call later in the week. "Sorry, no ports are open in your area," says the ClubTelco guy. I'm sorry, what did you say? I'm pretty sure you could have checked that on your system, and told us straight away!!!! Something’s fishy, and we suspect Telstra is to blame for this.
So it looks like we're stuck with Telstra cable. While trying to get our $70 plan settled, each time we call back to confirm, we get a different price. "No I'm sorry sir, but it's actually $80." "It's $90 if you get it bundled with your phone line." "It's actually $100 on a 24 month contract." WTF? Does nobody know what is going on?! Can you guys just get it together and sign us up on that original plan you quoted us?!
Ongoing dealings with Telstra. I'm starting to lose all hope that we're ever going to get the Internet. It's getting a bit sad and morbid around here. I've solved a murder case as Tex Murphy, saved the universe as Commander Shepherd, completed a real life puzzle, and yet I still have no internet. God knows how many books I've finished reading in this time.
The partner is getting really angry. He just comes home and fumes about the constant dealings with Telstra. After an angry outburst, he finally gets onto a manager who reads our phone records and agrees that we've been misinformed on several occasions.
Finally, with our bargaining power, we settle on a $91 plan with the $125 connection fee reimbursed. That isn't before, Telstra customer service tells us that there is no internet (cable or otherwise) available in our area and only wireless is available IF we sign up with a mobile phone contract with them. DO THEY NOT KNOW what is going on here??!! AGGGGH Rippping haiirrr outttt!!
The frustrating thing is that they could technically just send us the modem and flip a switch and we would be connected. But noo!! They want to send the technician anyway!!
Our Telstra cable is going to get installed this week. Finally, because I've just about had it with these Telcos who have no idea what is going on even though they own most of the infrastructure in Australia. Why would anyone go through this ordeal when they could get the Internet (in a more straightforward manner) from anyone else?
So glad I have my phone tethered to the computer, have no idea how I can possibly get by without this.
We call Telstra the day before our installation date, just to check we are confirmed. They say it hasn't even been booked in yet, and that it's "pending". Excuse me, but how could you just give us a date, tell us to be home for it, and not even book it in!!! SOOO ANGRY. I NEED THE INTERWEBZ NAOOO.
We also get a $350 phone bill from Telstra for our "phone connection fee". Did they just not tell us that this would be credited to our account? And that it was only $125? FFFFUUUUUUUUUU!!
So Telstra gives us ANOTHER installation date. I'm over it. The partner's over it. We just need the Internet now. Seeing as they missed the last one, this one would most likely be installed on time. Right? RIGHT? It's at this point, where we finally call the complaints team and they give us a complaints manager to make sure that we get installed. “I’m sorry sir, but that is not how we do business!!” they say. “From our experience, spreading false and misleading information is exactly how you do business!” we say.
Diablo 3 comes out on the Friday. We pick up 2 copies of the game, excited to play it and have something to fill in the time. Sadly, it needs an online connection to play. What sort of single player game requires an active internet connection?! Everyone's talking about D3, and I can't play it because of no internet!! I blame Telstra. AGGH. What was the point of getting a game on release date, only to have it lying around?
While at the Internet cafe on the weekend, getting my gaming fix on Starcraft 2, my Galaxy SII gets stolen. It's a massive blow. I was using it for the internet and it was the only connection to the outside world. I tell the partner that I've hit rock bottom. Things absolutely blow, and I feel like I'm living in the dark ages. No phone, and no internet. Sad panda is sad.
Partner takes a half day off work to wait for the Telstra technician to come by. They give us a 4 hour window. So time goes by, and he waits. And waits. Of course, I call up and check every so often to see whether the guy is there yet. I get home 15 minutes before the installation window closes, and the guy isn't there yet. Chances are he's not going to turn up. I'm already ranting my head off. The partner already went through that process, and he's in somber silence.
He calls up Telstra, and finds out that the technician apparently "ran out of time" and no one had the courtesy to let us know. I mean, you give us a window, we take some time off work, and you don't even turn up?! Dealing with Telstra, is like dealing with an unreliable drug-addict who constantly promises you cash but never coughs up. It's constant disappointment at every single turn. The partner is irate at this stage. We demand compensation and go through to the complaints department again, who promises they will call us the following day and send us our technician.
The following day comes and we receive no call. So it's up to us to call them back and kick them into gear. No one's going to stay home at this stage, we've wasted enough time waiting on promises that never happen. The technician is going to give us a call when he's at our unit, and I'll drive out from work and let him in.
In the afternoon, I finally receive a call from the partner that says the technician is there! I jump straight into the car and speed all the way home. I catch the technician about to jump into his Telstra van and leave, but catch him at the last minute and let him into the unit.
"It's taken us 10 weeks to finally get the internet," I say to the Telstra guy. He gets the cable modem, plugs it in and says, "You know, I don't even need to be here. Telstra could have just sent you the modem in the mail and you could have plugged it in yourself."
Wasn't that what we requested in the first place? Anyway, we finally get a connection on the computer. And wait for the activation page to appear. And it doesn't. And I'm shattered. Telstra guy checks the network outside, and says there's a network fault but it should be fixed in 48 hours. He feels sorry for me, and gives me a free wireless adapter.
Two days later, the connection light on the modem is on. I test it, and it works!!! At the very end, Telstra does something right for once!
First thing I do is install Diablo 3, set some game downloads on Steam, and announce on MMGN and Facebook that I FINALLY HAVE THE INTERNET!!! Everyone is cheering along with me, because it means they don't have to listen to my ordeal anymore.
Honestly, when I tell people that it took 10 weeks to be installed, no one can believe how long it takes to get connected. If I went back in time and told myself this before I moved in, I probably wouldn't have moved in at all. I feel like I should wear a Tshirt, that says "I survived 10 weeks with no Internet".
It just proves how some telecommunications companies are completely off their mark when it comes to communication. I mean, who needs customer service when it’s just a pot luck draw on what you get told?
On the weekend, I went and got a replacement Galaxy SII on sale, and finally, all is right in the world. I can finally get settled in my new home (because it wasn't really complete without the internet). First weekend has just passed with the Internet, and there's been some happy days surfing the net and playing Diablo 3, and enjoying the RSI and back pain that comes with it. I've been missing out, and have forgotten the good and the bad that comes with having the internet.
While being wired is something a lot of us can’t imagine living without, it’s not a necessity. Sometimes we forget this as we go about our daily routine and take it for granted when we have information at our fingertips. It seems our society has been routed around having the Internet, it’s central to work, play and study. My coping mechanism kicked in without it, and it just goes to show that without it, you’d probably be doing something a little more productive. (First world problems?)
Thanks for listening to my story guys, and hopefully you can make some informed decisions the next time you need to change your provider. And hopefully, this will make that Ben guy happy.