Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I despair: Telstra
WARNING: Rant follows
Some years ago I lived in another country and there I had a home telephone line. I never thought much about it. I just paid the bill every month and whenever I wanted to phone someone I just got on the blower and phoned them. Simple. I had my home internet service with the same provider. The only time I ever heard from them was one snowy day when my children had been stuck indoors for an entire school holidays and had used up our internet allocation for the month. Then someone from my internet service provider phoned me to suggest we move to a different plan as that would be better value. Nice.
Then I moved to Australia and somehow fell through a telecommunications crack in time that now sees me with the sort of home phone service that my mother wouldn't have stood for back when I was a girl. These days I spend a considerable amount of my time and energy just trying to keep phone and internet services connected to our house. Those of you who have done away with a home phone line may think that just going mobile might be a better option. But alas, I live in Falcon WA, which despite being in one of the fastest growing cities in Australia, has extremely poor mobile coverage. Neither my home mobile (Telstra) or my work mobile (Telstra) work at my house.
So yet again today I did not have the day I had planned to have because of Telstra. Today for the third time this year, I went to use the phone only to find it completely dead. On the past two occasions (this year, this rant would be far too long if I catalogued all the various problems we have had with Telstra since moving to Australia) it took several days to get the problem fixed. The last time was only two weeks ago. For two days our phone was dead. Then Telstra cheerfully phoned me at work to say that the problem was fixed. Next thing we discover that all our calls were being transferred through to the home phone of a woman who lives in Mittagong, NSW. I chatted to her several times while we were trying to get Telstra to fix the problem. In the end she told me that I was probably being too nice and needed to get grumpier with Telstra. So I faked another case of early onset grumpy old woman syndrome and suddenly it got fixed.
Today I spent the day at home with a seriously ill child, no home phone and no mobile reception. When I finally ran down the road to report the fault Telstra's response was that hopefully someone would get back to me within 3 working days. I said "Er, not good enough" before my mobile lost reception and cut out. Later when I rang to follow-up I was told "They needed to get a part in" as if I was calling from Antarctica! So to all of you desperately trying to phone through with birthday wishes for my son or with exciting party invitations for me (mwah ha ha), I have absolutely no idea when we will next be able to chat. Sigh.
The thing is, Telstra and their gob-smackingly poor service have worn me down. I despair that because of the numerous times I have had to deal with them over the past 18 months, with problem after problem after problem, that now I really do have early onset grumpy old woman syndrome. (I think it has even altered my looks. That's me above, what do you think? ) Their inability to deliver such a seemingly simple service as a home telephone line beggars belief and has left me desperately seeking an alternative. The problem is that everyone I've mentioned this to reckons that the alternatives are just as hopeless. Double sigh.
A big project in Australia at the moment is the National Broadband Network. Politicians bang on about it constantly as if somehow building a fatter pipe is going to change the world. Well good luck to them, but given my experience of Australian telecommunications, that seems like attempting to make a souffle when you haven't even mastered boiling eggs.
To all those people who write to me about whether they should move here (and who I always have great difficulty replying to), you have been warned.