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Why We Need A Senate Inquiry Into Telstra Services?

Telstra are the biggest communication operator in Australia, who generate billions in revenue, from consumers, they also have a shocking record when it comes to service, as I found out first hand in recent weeks.

It appears that getting a simple transfer of an NBN service from one home to another nearby is a major difficulty for the big carrier, with the Company blaming the NBN when there is a problem, when in reality it’s their poor systems and the hiring of staff who are clueless or have been poorly trained with most now based in India.

What’s needed is a Senate inquiry into communication services similar to the investigation of supermarket pricing, as communication has become a critical infrastructure for all Australians today.

Some weeks ago, we asked for a fast NBN service to be transferred from a house in Mosman to an apartment in Cammeray where I was set to live while a new house was being built.

A simple task that turned into a nightmare and is still not fixed.

After being given an install date of the 23rd of April and after waiting all day at an apartment, no installer turned up.

That’s okay, people do get delayed.

We were then given another date of a Monday.

A day after being given the date, we got a call from someone with an Indian accent claiming the date had been changed.

Telstra was coming in on a Sunday they claimed, and they wanted to ensure that we would be there. After questioning whether she meant Monday and not Sunday which is a day when very few Telstra installers work, we were assured “Yes Sunday.”

You guessed it, no one turned up on a Sunday or even on the following Monday as originally scheduled.

We were then given Wednesday as an install day, and “hallelujah” a Telstra technician actually turned up to install a new NBN box and Telstra router.

After installing a box and a router, he assured me that the NBN was working.
As we had ordered and the Telstra email confirmed “Your plan should be Superfast at 250/22 MBit/s in line with your current plan”, I decided to do a speed test.

The only problem was, we were only getting between 12 and 25 M/Bits per second.

When I questioned this with the Telstra installer, he said it was down to the NBN and the issue would be fixed by the NBN whose connection was according to him “Working perfectly” .

“It’s what you ordered” he claimed.

He then left, claiming he had “Done his job.”

We were also told after another call to Telstra that the order “had been completed.”

When nothing happened to the speed which had dropped to 12MBits per second, I contacted Telstra again and at one stage a guy who appeared to not have a clue told me I had to “call the NBN”.

When I pointed out to him that no Telstra customers dealt with the NBN, he then asked me to hang on.

He then came back asking for the serial number of the NBN box.

When I advised I was no longer at the property he said that I had to go back because Telstra had no idea of the serial number or the MAC address of the box that their installer had earlier in the day installed at the property.

The whole notion of keeping records went out the door with the Telstra operator claiming that neither Telstra nor the NBN, knew which NBN box was installed at the premises as “The box was not responding.”

This begged the question how was a so called NBN service connected.

So, it was back to the apartment to get the information Telstra wanted.

An inspection of the Telstra modem then revealed the service was not running from the NBN and was actually running from a 4G Telstra SIM in their router.

So, it was back to Telstra who after 40 minutes on the phone with a back-and-forth conversation and despite them having the NBN modem serial number and MAC address they were unable to fix them problem.

We will call you tomorrow was the solution.

The next day a call came in from India with a woman who appeared to not know anything about the issue.

She claimed, “I am here to advice that a technician will arrive tomorrow to install your NBN is that okay with you.”

When she was told that a technician had already installed an NBN modem and Telstra router, she insisted as if she was reading from a script on telling me the times that the technician would be coming in.

She was utterly clueless claiming she only had access to certain Telstra systems.

When I pointed out that all I wanted was the speed that we were paying for she put me through to faults, again this was another India based employee.

After 20 minutes he came back claiming that he had to put me through to yet another technician.

She claimed that the job was completed, then in the next breadth claimed, “It’s completed but not completed, you will have to wait another 24 to 36 hours to see if you get the speeds you ordered”.

“If you are not happy with the speed, you will have to call faults.”

The real issue is that I am tech literate and what Australian consumers are having to put up with is overseas call centres, and people on the end of a line who are clueless as to what is actually happening, a classic case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

Then there is the issue of multiple Telstra systems.

Then there are the so called, India based Telstra technicians who on one hand claim a job is completed and are totally deaf to what a customer is telling them.

As a customer who has spent over three hours on the phone to simply get an install of the NBN and is prepared to pay for fast speeds but is still struggling with speeds of less than 25Mbit/s per second that at best deliver stutter vision let alone poor access one has to question why the Federal Government is not investigating the operations of Telstra in the same way that there is a Senate Inquiry of Supermarkets.

I have spent three days, working from home, rearranging appointments, only for Telstra to not turn up and like it is for many Australians today communication is a critical infrastructure that is in the hands of only a few carriers.

Broadband and above all fast broadband is critical for all Australians today as streaming apps become the norm for TV viewing and households are running multiple devices to a router.

To allow Telstra to continue to deliver service, like I have experienced is simply not on and the Federal Government needs to step in with penalties and fines for poor performance.

Are you having service or install problems with Telstra if so email me on: [email protected]

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