The National Broadband Network (NBN) has arrived in Pakenham, it may not be the fibre to the home (FTTH) concept of the former Labor government (which we weren’t going to see until closer to 2020) but it is here, in “nodes”. The NBN model the Liberal government is giving us only takes the fibre internet connection to boxes, known as a “node” strategically placed around the neighborhood. The connection from the node to everyone’s homes uses last century tech (that was only ever meant to carry phone calls), yep, good old fashion copper wires. This broadband model is known as Fibre to the Node (FTTN), it’s inferior to FTTH, but quicker and cheaper to roll out across the country. For the end user it means your front yard doesn’t need to be dug up and there’s no box to be installed in your garage, but your internet connection wont be as fast.
Telstra wrote to me a few weeks ago to say it was coming and then emailed last week to say they had sent me a connection kit. The correspondence from Telstra said all we had to do, was disconnect our existing ADSL modem and unplug any existing landline phones, then simply plug in the new “Gateway Max” wi-fi modem. The new “T-Voice” phone only needs power, and connects via wi-fi.
All the documentation from Telstra made it very clear that connecting the new “Gateway” modem would “…trigger and authorise Telstra to arrange for your home to be switched to the NBN.” I’m more than happy to get a better and faster internet (and so are my YouTube watching kids), so I hooked everything up last Friday. While waiting to be switched over to the NBN, the Gateway modem will use ADSL to provide internet access, however it’s noticeably slower than the ADSL of my old Netgear modem, but I can handle that for a few days before being connected to the faster network.
I wasn’t expecting anything to happen over the weekend, so this week I reached out to Telstra via Twitter to ask how long I’d be waiting to be switched over from ADSL to NBN. The social media team asked me to connect to their chat-help service, who intern connected me to someone from the NBN team.
After confirming my account details, address, date-of-birth, etc, etc… this Telstra NBN expert said there was no NBN connection order on my account, no record of any letter or email sent to me and no record of a modem and phone connection kit being sent out. This guy didn’t believe me, even after reading the documentation, word for word to him, he asked me to take the letter to a Telstra store for them to look at. I told him that was ridiculous and offered to email him a copy, but he then tried to tell me he didn’t have an email address, yeah right!
Mr Telstra did say he could raise an NBN connection order for my account if I choose a new broadband plan. I said no and read to him again the correspondence that said “…there’ll be no change to your monthly bill, plan type or contract period…”
At that point I found a sentence in the letter saying it would take between one to three weeks to be switched over to the NBN after setting up the connection kit. Now I’ve found the answer to my “how long” question I told they guy on the phone how disappointed I was that Telstra could not find anything related to NBN associated with my account, and then wished him a good night.
With my area of Pakenham only going “live” on the NBN this week, I cant help but wonder how many families around here have hooked up their connection kit and are now wondering when things will speed up. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next one to three weeks.
Update: Sat 28 May
Going by the Facebook post started by Berwick-Packenham Gazette newspaper, Pakenham residents aren’t overly impressed with Telstra or the NBN. Despite Telstra promoting that NBN is available in the area, nobody is saying they’ve been connected yet.
I called into the Pakenham Telstra store today, just to see if they could shed any light on when I could be expected to be switched over from ADSL to NBN FTTN. I spoke to a nice guy in the store who said nothing will happen until there’s an order placed on my account. Even when I told him the information sent to us said all we needed to do was plug in the new modem, he said “no, that wouldn’t happen” and that he would need to place an order for us. However, when he looked up my account he saw the NBN switch over order was already on my account, so apparently plugging in the new modem had worked, scheduling my broadband to be switched over to NBN on 7th June at 2PM. As he was looking up my account I brought up the picture on my phone of the label on the back of the new modem which warns;
Connecting this modem to your telephone wall socket will trigger and authorise Telstra to arrange for your home to be switched to the NBN...
He asked for a copy so he could chase up with his boss why store staff don’t know about this. As we chatted more, he explained that this automatic switch over is another example of a growing trend of cutting out the retail franchises and their ability to earn a commission from new contract sales.
It seems Telstra may be dealing with some internal politics and communication issues, but at least I now have a NBN switch over date; 7th June at 2PM.
Update: Tuesday June 7th
A week and a half later we’ve been switched over to the NBN. There’s been a modest improvement to our internet download speed, and a huge increase to upload speeds. Our home “landline” phone is a lot clearer now too!
See this blog post for more… simonyeo.id.au/nbn-switched-over
Update June 12;
I was able to negotiate a better deal with Telsta to get faster NBN speeds.
Read more on this blog post… simonyeo.id.au/faster-nbn-fttn