Friday, 9 January 2009

The Year So Far, Not Impressed.

In the news of 2009, lots of brickbats already.  First up, it's been revealed that (gasp!  Who'd a thunk it?) ISPs and telcos lie a lot about their network performance. Tell me about it - Telstra for four years told me my telephone line was okay - despite the totally shoddy performance of even just dialup on the line.  And did nothing   This is despite Telstra's "earnest desire" to be included in the National Broadband Network project.  Stuff me gently - they can't even get ADSL working properly in a capital city and they want to wire the whole nation up?  Gimme a break...

My ISP who provided me that service over that Telstra phone line, they're no angels either...  Back when there was only ADSL and no fancy high speed alternatives like ADSL2 and ADSL2+, ADSL connections were sold by the maximum speed of the line.  Imagine my surprise when, after two years of paying for a 512k line speed, (and two years of bitching that I'd never achieved more than 210k speeds,) it turns out that they had throttled my connection to 256k for all that time.  But happily charged me top dollar for the 512k rate...  To their credit, they did refund me the difference for one of those years.  But it's to be noted that even when I was shifted to ostensibly ADSL2 speeds (which I can't take advantage of, having only a very old modem,) the speed throttling was in effect for a year of my ADSL2 unmetered service too...  In fact, they have not been very fair or honest in their dealings with me at all.

Not that I think Telstra fares that much better.  I wanted to take mobile broadband for when I'm travelling - and Telstra's service ranks as one of the most expensive, for the least benefit.  When I pointed this out to a sales rep, I basically got told I could lump it or like it.  So I'm using another provider for my mobile broadband needs now when I am travelling...

I was told that some services would be free on Telstra, but when I stopped believeing the sales rep's bullshit and checked, it turned out that I'd been fed a few porkie pies...  The services were NOT free on mobile broadband after all and would have cost me several hundred dollars more - a month! - had I believed the person on the phone.

This is the same Telstra whose CEO claims that their not being allowed to tender for the NBN may now cost $2bn in profits.  On a $15bn job, that's almost 15% of the money Telstra would have just silently pocketed... And Sol Trujillo says this is a "low margin revenue" job, at that!  Is it any wonder the economies of the world have gone down given blatant gouging like that?

Oh.  Wait.  I forgot. We're all like that, apparently.  Defiant to the last, unions are determined that since we seem to have survived the worldwide recession better than most countries, they will dig their heels in and keep gouging until we are damn well down there in the shit with the rest of the world... 

And if you don't get your gouge of the money, well just hack your clients and get your ass in jail...   Are we going to survive this year at all?  So far it's all pretty much bullshit and disappointment, not a good omen for the future.

Oh - and why am I writing this?  Because I'm now out in that self-same bush that the NBN is supposed to connect as never before.  I've contacted the Broadband Guarantee to see if I, as a retired citizen, could get broadband for my bus which is my home, and was told that it doesn't qualify as it's not a fixed residence.  So the several tens of thousands of us, particularly retirees who've gone for a road change rather than a tree or sea change, or who can't afford to live in houses are just shit out of luck, sorry.  (Stephen Conroy, are you reading this?  Stop devoting so much of my already-paid-to-the-government-over-a-lifetime-of-paying-my-way tax dollars to finding ways to stuff everyone else up, and instead devote some of it to drafting legislation so that I'm not discriminated against in this way.  Teh Internet tubes - it iz ur dept and ur doin it rong...)

So I've had to rent a cottage, put on a land line, and get ADSL (and go back back to ADSLzeropointzero again, no fancy higher speeds out here despite being only ten minutes from a major population centre) in order to have affordable Internet.  When I got this one connected, I was again misled by the sales person I spoke with and ended up having to pay $25 to have my speed changed so I could actually get a useable amount of download - and to top it off I've just done speed tests and they can't even supply me the full 512k I've paid for here - the connection speed is under half of that, verified by the ISP's own speed test and an independent speed test application and service that I use.


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