Apparently about 75% of homes are now connected to NBN. That means that in 25%, including many in Glebe, people are waiting anxiously to find out what happens next. When I mention NBN most people have experienced or know of horror stories, for instance back to base burglar alarms seem to be incompatible with NBN.

Here is what happened to me. A botched cable installation in January alerted me to the imminent arrival of NBN in Glebe (see Bulletins 1 2019 and 2 2019). As a long-time customer, I had expected to get an invitation to connect to NBN via Optus, but no information arrived.

In March I found via Internet that NBN were starting installation work in Glebe, but Optus was not yet available at my house. I thought that I had put my name on the Optus waiting list, but there was no confirmation of this. In May I contacted Optus again, and after long on-line chats to the Philippines, I was told to expect an NBN installer to arrive between 8.30am and 12 noon on Friday 31 May. At about 8am my Internet was disconnected, but no installer arrived. I phoned Optus and was told  that he had come, but I was not at home. Either he had come to the wrong house, or he didn’t recognise my old-fashioned door bell and just tapped on the door. He could have phoned me or even left a note under my door to say that he was still in my area.

I made another appointment for a week later and asked to have my Internet reinstated, but this was not possible. Apparently my ADSL had been returned from Optus to Telstra, who would pass it on to NBN, and the process was irreversible. No-one could tell me why my Internet was cut off before my NBN connection was working.  

I admit that I rarely use my Mobile phone, but with the help of my next door neighbour Olivia and her Wi-Fi, I managed to receive emails on my Mobile but not to answer them. Luckily I still had my landline phone. A week later Abdul the NBN installer arrived on time. I had been assured that he would have all the necessary cabling and equipment, but again I was disappointed. He could only drill a hole through my front wall into the lounge room. He could not run cabling to my home office, two rooms away. I would need to employ an electrician or connect using WIFI, which I didn’t have. I had not previously been asked about WIFI or the layout of my house 

My Glebe Society friend Bruce Davis came to my aid. He asked Abdul if I would need to insert a card in my computer to connect to Wi-Fi. Abdul didn’t know about this. It wasn’t a part of his job. Bruce went to two shops, bought a Network card ($48) and went to a lot of trouble to install it and restore my email service.  

Three weeks later I had a phone call from an Optus Senior Relations Executive in Adelaide. I think he rang me because I had not yet plugged in my landline phone to NBN as I was worried about losing the connection. This Optus man and I talked for over an hour. He was interested in hearing my story and offered me money in compensation. I insisted that I was only interested in helping other people to avoid my problems, but he sent me an email confirming the credit to my Optus account.  The email also said that ‘a case manager from Networks would contact me to ensure that my setup was correct and to answer any questions further to the landline’. 

Almost four weeks later, my landline phone was unexpectedly disconnected, so I emailed my contact in Adelaide. Three days later I had a call on my Mobile from an Optus case manager in India. Probably Optus had been trying to contact me via SMS. The man in India told me how to connect my phone to NBN and rang me back later to check that it was working. It is, but the line keeps dropping out.. A man came from Optus today and said everything seemed OK, but Optus will monitor my phone for a few days.

So I have experienced severe communication problems, probably because I was born too soon. Optus and I have wasted many hours during this process. To sum up:

  • Optus did not contact me to say when NBN was coming to Glebe or to offer their services. 
  • My long on-line chats and phone calls with friendly call centre people in the Philippines and India were repetitive and mind numbing.
  • NBN and Optus use SMS for contact and rarely use landline phones or emails.  I have a friend who doesn’t have a mobile phone or a computer.  What will happen to her?
  • I was led to expect that the NBN connection would reach my home office.
  • I was not asked if I had WiFi or given the opportunity to install it before the NBN man came.
  • I have experienced stress for several months, especially during the last five weeks or so.

I hope you had, or will have, a better experience.