Now TPG Sucks

By Mike Wheeler

Maybe my household is doomed to never have the internet again. Maybe it’s some sort of conspiracy theory like 9-11 was an inside job and Obama wasn’t born in the United States –  folks who believe these theories are known as troofers and birthers respectively.

Me? I think I’m a Net Losser – a new designation that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m running a company into the ground, but one who believes there are mysterious powers-that-be are bent on ensuring my family never gets to browse the net again – they’re the information super highway Illuminati if you will.

If you have been following this saga you will already know about my first and second run ins with Telstra/Bigpond, resulting in our family cutting all ties with the largest phone and internet provider in the Lucky Country.

So we had to get another provider. After popping next door to borrow the neighbours PC, we jumped on http://www.comparebroadband.com.au/ and had a good look around. We thought the best plan was one offered by TPG, which offered up 100GB (30GB peak 70GB off peak) for $49.99 ($30 of that cost was for phone rental). Cool, that will do us. After all, the plan we had just dumped was $79,99 for 6GB (yes, I know, we were idiots). So my wife sends off the application form and we awaited their response as to when we were being connected.

Two days later we get an email from TPG. It was not good news. Why? Well, according t the email, and I quote, “we are currently unable to proceed with your ADSL2+ with TPG Home Phone application. The situation in your case is that Telstra is presently unable to provide the cabling infrastructure between your location and the local exchange.”

Interesting, I thought. Considering we’ve just had the internet for the past 2 years, where has all the cabling gone?  So I decided to call TPG. I got put through to their troubleshooting department, which you guessed it, was located in the Philippines. Again, as with previous calls, the customer services rep was very pleasant, but again, we suffered time lag and overtalked each other, and had problems with accents. To cut a long story short, she was advised that there was no way the connection could be made because there was no cabling between our house and the exchange.  I explained to her several different ways that this could not be correct as we had just severed the ties with our last provider due to terrible service, not lack of infrastructure, and we were at the same location.

Now, I did think that maybe the problem was with the cabling outside the house, because, after all, this was the initial problem with Bigpond – no internet. But we were pretty sure that was due to the modem, not the connection. However, letting bygone be bygones I thanked her very much and went on my way.

Next on the list. iiNet. They offered up a service of 100GB (50Gb peak 50GB off peak) for $59.95. However that was according to http://www.comparebroadband.com.au/, which turned out to be outdated. The new price was $69.95, which I could live with but they had to check our line first. Ten minutes later I get a call back saying the line is fine. So we are now awaiting connection. Does that mean TPG had no idea what it was doing? Is iiNet not telling the truth and we will get another email in day or so saying connection is not possible? Does this mean we’ll have to get Telstra out to look at the cabling – something that was offered to us the sixth time we rang them, but were too fed up to take up the offer? Who knows? I guess if we are connected within the next couple of days, all will be revealed.

I will say this though. I did feel a bit concerned about iiNet asking customers to waive certain conditions in their Ts and Cs (ie, set up times and fixing fault times) because the company claims they are at the whim of Telstra and when Telstra’s technicians can switch on the service. Still, the guy reassured me that if their service ended up being less than satisfactory, they soon wouldn’t have any customers.

Overall, this whole experience has been a little bit of a nightmare, but it also made me wonder how and old fart like me ever got anything done pre 1998-2000, which is when I started using email and the net regularly. I’ll keep you posted of developments.

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