Brent’s horror NBN Story

Ross Greenwood speaks to Brent who has had a terrible experience trying to connect to the NBN.

Introduction: Brent’s horror NBN Story

Ross Greenwood:  Welcome back to Money News right around Australia. It’s interesting to note that the financial view and opinion piece by its political correspondent, Laura Tingle, “Is the prime minister finally losing the black cat.” In other words, is the bad luck starting to run out for the prime minister? It will be interesting to see what your views on that are as well. 131-873.

Last night on the program we took a call from Brett, Brent rather, who’s in Pakenham. Now, Brent has got a problem, he’s visually impaired and so as a result, problems. Now what’s happened is his phone, his internet’s gone down, he’s had to take days off work to try and fix this up. We said we’d try and sort it out last night for him. We have. Optus were on the blower, basically trying to get it sorted out with Brent today, but I think there’s more dramas and I think the drama is not necessarily all of Optus’ making, but we’re going to find out. Hello Brent, how are you?

Interview with Brent, NBN Consumer

Brent: I’m a bit better than I was yesterday, Ross.

Ross Greenwood:  A bit better. Is the problem sorted out yet?

Brent: No, not exactly. I just want to correct you, I haven’t actually heard from anyone from Optus, but I have heard from the NBN. Optus has been in contact with them and there was a lot of chilling and filling, I’ve had two calls from the NBN. The first told me that I’d need to take tomorrow off work and they’d send a technician between 8:00 and 12:00 and I said, “Look, really this not on, I took yesterday off work,” and we argued for about 20 minutes and the call ended really unpleasantly. I gave them three possible times being Friday night, early Friday morning or Sunday that I’d be home. “Our technicians don’t work then,” and I said I’m not the one that’s caused any of this.

Ross Greenwood:  That’s it.

Brent: In the end, I said, “Look how about Saturday,” and the lady I think was getting quite fed up and she said, “Well, I’ll have to go away and get back to you and see whether we can arrange something for a Saturday.”

Ross Greenwood:  Can you imagine– Actually, just before we get to that point, Brent. You’re one person, right, but you’ve had what now, is it three days and they want to try and make it four days off work, or is it something of that nature?

Brent: It’s one day that I’ve had off work, but it should have been Tuesday and ended up being Wednesday because they weren’t organized, so I had to actually change.

Ross Greenwood:  Yes, that’s right. So they mucked you around. Now you multiply you by the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of connections that are going to take place all over Australia. If this is the common experience, how much lost time, how much productivity that’s not going to be added into the price of the NBN, is actually going to be there. This is just crazy stuff that you shouldn’t have to put into anyway. She basically offered to give you– has she given you a Saturday time eventually?

Brent: No, she’s phoned me back and basically said– after I’d spoken to your producer earlier today, and said, “We might not need you home. Perhaps we’ll try it remotely and after all if that doesn’t work then we’ll look at a Saturday, if that what you’d like.” And it’s like, well, of course it’s what I’d like.

Ross Greenwood:  Yes, okay. I’ve got one other question. This started as a problem with Optus, why did it end up with the NBN?

Brent: I have no idea. I think the problem was with the NBN part of it, not the Optus part of it. The difficulty is that the Optus-

Ross Greenwood:  How does a person work this out? I mean, you’re sight-impaired, I know, Brent so that makes it even more difficult, but an ordinary person trying to work this out with full sight is still going to have a major drama, because you don’t know who’s to blame. You’re not the technical expert, they are, and yet one will blame the other, oh, it’s not us, it’s them, or it’s them, it’s not us. How the hell does anybody get this worked out?

Brent: Well this is the problem, now whether Optus, I still haven’t heard. Nobody from Optus has phoned me today. I’ve only spoken to this lady twice from the NBN. What I’m wanting is somebody to put their hand up and say, “Yes, we will be responsible, we will work with you all the way through.” I want an account manager.

Ross Greenwood:  That’s it.

Brent: To stay with me till this is all sorted. Because the Optus technicians are going to have to come back, because they have to help me set my Wi-Fi password up, and they couldn’t do that yesterday, so I don’t know when that’s going to happen because I haven’t heard from Optus.

Ross Greenwood:  What have I got here, now, what have I got. I’ve got a statement from NBN here. Thanks for your call Altara, this is Altara our producer. A successful conversation. “After a further conversation with Mr. Franklyn, he has told us he preferred that the appointment go ahead tomorrow without him at the house, so we will proceed with that plan. In the unlikely event the connection is not successful, we’re going to take out on Saturday. We do apologize to Mr. Franklyn for the inconvenience and frustration he’s experienced to date. It’s not the experience we want people to have and we’ll work to improve our process to ensure these types of situations are minimized. We will be trialling a new appointment system in the New Year, whereby consumers will be able to re-schedule appointments directly with an NBN co-field technician without the need to contact their providers.” Yes, well that would be a bit helpful, wouldn’t it? If you could have done this straight through the NBN rather than have to go back through Optus every time, that would make it a damn sight better as well.

Brent: Yes, and instead of them having to go through somebody who was clearly managing a call center with NBN, or I suppose-

Ross Greenwood:  But you’ve still got to get someone to sort out your modem, as well, Brent. That’s the other problem.

Brent: Well that’s right. After I’m connected then we’ve got to get the modem sorted, which-

Ross Greenwood:  Which you thought was the initial problem?

Brent: That’s right.

Ross Greenwood:  Brent, I’m so sorry. We’re going to keep working on this. Anybody else that’s got these problems, feel free to give us a call, because I don’t think you’re isolated at all Brent. I think there’s lots of people. Actually, I’ve just had somebody jump online. Let’s go to Warren in Kirrawee, he’s there somewhere. Hello Warren, how are you going?

Warren: Well, Ross, yourself?

Ross Greenwood:  Good thank you.

Warren: Mate, there’s a lot of– I’m rolling out NBN to my business customers, and I get involved in their home installations. It comes down to a couple of things. NBN can’t be blamed for everything. The telcos and Optus are rolling out very cheap modem routers and they are part of the problem. What you pay for is what you get. I’m happy to help that fellow over the phone, identify what his issues are, get the people involved and even talk to the telcos on his behalf to push them where they need to be.

Ross Greenwood:  Can I just say, thank you very much, Warren, we’re going to keep your number and name. We’ll give it to Brent as well. If he needs a hand, he can sing out. Brent’s still on the line there, thank you so much for that as well, Warren, we really appreciate that gesture. Anybody else that can help Brent out, please do, and Brent, we’re going to stick with this case and we’ll certainly get it resolved for you ASAP.

Brent: Look, thank you so much Ross and your producer is an absolute champ, because I have, and this is the funny part, I was laughing about this at work today. I’ve got more information out of her through following things through than what I’ve got out of NBN or Optus.

Ross Greenwood:  Which is a very sad indictment,great job though, looking after Brent, but don’t worry, Brent, we’re going to see this thing through with you and we’ll try and bring back details. Can you imagine this, it’s just a nightmare. A big organizations just don’t get it and they think they get it, they’d like to think they get it, but they just don’t. And the practical problems that Brent is having are replicated tens of thousands of times over this nation. Crazy stuff.

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Interviewed  Teresa Corbin, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, CEO titled ” Are you an unhappy NBN customer? .”

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