BY ASHLEY GEELAN & JANICE MITCHELL
Telstra and NBN Corporation (NBN) fail to provide reliable communication services from the Kinglake Ranges to Melbourne.
Sub-contracted Telstra technicians are left to deal with customers’ anger at ‘the coal face’ whilst Telstra and NBN Co. blame technicians or each other.
“They [Telstra] don’t have a fucking clue these days mate …. they’re a bunch of fucking dickheads.
“You’ll just get some dickhead in Mumbai who doesn’t have a fucking clue,” a sub-contracted Telstra technician, John*, told Kinglake Ranges News.
Customers are left without services after spending hours on smartphone apps, such as Telstra 24/7 or calling 13 22 00, to be told ‘reset your modem’ ad nausea by overseas call centres.
“Good Better Best.” Telecom Australia advertising campaign 1991-1992.
There are regular outages at:
- Kinglake Ranges Service Centre;
- Robertson Rd, Kinglake;
- Bald Spur Rd, Kinglake Central;
- Grandview Cres, Kinglake Central;
- Several other local businesses we’ve chosen not to name
- Regular email outages, including today, September 28.
Telstra and NBN contractors are now regularly abused by disgruntled customers.
Since July, August and throughout September, NBN and/or Telstra outages continue across the Kinglake Ranges.
“We do cop abuse from some customers, but when we restore the internet [and communications] services customers are usually wrapped,” John said.
During these regular outages, Kinglake Ranges News was told – on several occasions – it was an “isolated incident” and to “use other wi-fi services, such as the local [Kinglake] library.”
The wi-fi services referred to, such as Murrindindi Shire’s Kinglake Service Centre and Library and local businesses internet services didn’t work either.
Telstra continually denies it’s their fault. NBN Co. denies it’s their fault as customers are bounced between each service with no satisfactory outcome, but several former Telecom Australia technicians disagree.
“We [Telstra] just don’t care about customers anymore it’s about ROI [return on investment] for shareholders,” a former Telecom Australia technician told Kinglake Ranges News.
A Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) employee visiting Kinglake tried -without success – to use the internet connection at the Kinglake Service Centre and library but was unable to fulfil her duties as a public servant.
“I can’t do my … job … I can’t provide services to the community like this … what a load of bullshit,” said a Murrindindi Shire employee.
The DHHS was unable to provide services to a customer who had just lost her home in a Whittlesea house fire.
The DHHS employee reverted to using the mobile phone network via ‘hotspot’ on another network.
It’s not isolated to the Kinglake Ranges though.
A Reservoir Telstra customer was told using Telstra’s 24/7 app and again on the phone to call 1100 ‘Dial Before You Dig’ and do the work [run the cable] themselves.
It’s illegal for a customer (or anyone) to interfere with Telstra infrastructure.
‘Why they sent out a telephone and not a cable tech I’d never … know …
“We know the bullshit but at least people are happy when we restore their internet service,” John said.
Australians seek alternative options but Telstra and/or NBN Co own or lease most of the infrastructure, especially in rural and regional areas.
Being with another internet service provider (ISP) means a customer has to go through their ISP first, then Telstra or NBN Co. to simply to resolve basic problems.
Telstra had plenty of time to arrange sponsorship logos on the 50m line in AFL preliminary finals last weekend.
From regular outages to requesting a customer call 11 00 ‘Dial Before You Dig’ both Telstra and NBN Co. continually fail to provide reliable infrastructure.
When solutions, information and explanations are requested, a call centre employee in Mumbai tells customers to “do the work themselves.”
No one in Australia to call at Telstra. Customers using the Telstra 24/7 app or calling 13 22 00 aren’t able to speak to someone from Telstra within Australia even if requested.
This isn’t just an ‘on the hill’ problem it stretches as far as one can see – in any direction – from Kinglake to Melbourne.
Telstra media spokesperson, James Kelly, requested further details on Friday, September 21 to investigate. No response has been forthcoming.
“We are carrying out investigations,” Kelly said.
Several former Telecom Australia and current Telstra sub-contracted technicians spoke to Kinglake Ranges on the condition of anonymity.
Only independent Federal Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan responded to requests for comment.
“Sara [of McGowan’s Wangaratta office] will be in contact with you shortly should she require any further details in identifying the best way to progress your inquiry. If you haven’t done so already, please provide Sara with your postal address and phone number so that we have these details on hand when responding to you,” the response states.
Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield (Lib); Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland (ALP); Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman; Telstra and NBN Co. did not respond to several requests for comment.
*Names have been changed.
Responses will be published if received.