Broadband tale of woe

My demeanour as an ihug customer has changed from happy and unflappable to disgruntled and frazzled. I’m in the middle of a broadband tale of woe.

It all started when I decided to switch ISP from ihug to TelstraClear. Faster cable broadband was the carrot, and slightly cheaper pricing a not unwelcome bonus.

TelstraClear’s customer service department were polite and efficient. A concern my existing adsl broadband and phone number might be cut-off before the cable was installed was met with a swift reassurance. “Sir, the old doesn’t go until the new is working”. Oh, how I wish I’d got that in writing.

The technician turned up on the appointed day. That’s when things started to go seriously wrong. Once upon a time a TelstraClear cable arched majestically to the house. But, aha, when we found a mangled cable it was obvious this was no longer the case.

Just install a new (ugly, thick black) cable and all will be sorted. Not that quick. There are already too many cables on the nearest lamp-post and a more thorough investigation is needed to determine whether the pole can take another one. Scott left before I could offer him a cuppa tea.

Two days later I found out new wiring in the neighbourhood is needed, which first takes permission from the lines company.

“Sir, you won’t be able to get cable broadband until at least 30 May.”

In the meantime, my account at ihug was already cancelled. There is a long explanation of porting and provisioning and so on and so forth. My efforts to get them to temporarily reinstate my account have fallen on deaf ears. As the jilted party, ihug have taken their loss of me to heart and they don’t want to talk to me. I no longer exist.

This leaves us unable to make toll or mobile calls, and without broadband. Dial-up from TelstraClear is keeping a modicum of connectivity, but the disruption has been painful. Downloading big files, accessing some websites and sending email, forget about it.

This doesn’t really seem fair.

I wondered if the Telecommunications Disputes Resolution service could help. The answer: no. Well, not in the short-term. Consumers have to give telcos six weeks to respond to complaints before you go to the service.

I’m going to use a Vodafone mobile data plan so I can work from home. This means Vodafone (who now own ihug) will profit from the comedy of errors (which I can say in my good humoured moments) or sheer incompetence and ineptitude (which pops out in my darker moments). It’s an irony which I will treasure.