My Australian Broadband Saga

When I told my mate Ariel back home that it took me 23 days to get my broadband connected her response was “where the f*ck are you? the jungle?”. In terms of telecommunications, I may as well be in the jungle. I got free high speed internet in the middle of the Thai jungle; you’d be hard pressed to find free high speed in Sydney.

Australia - Sydney - Skyline

The main reason why it took so long to get hooked up is because of Telstra. They have a monopoly on all physical lines and has done a great job overcharging Australians as well as stunting the advancement of telecom technology in the country. As as result of this, the telecom situation in Australia is horrible. My provider TPG put in an order to Telstra to setup my phone line on 12 April, the day I ordered my broadband service. Telstra didn’t respond till 18 April to inform TPG that the installation would be done on 28 April. There are two things that really bother me about the initial order:

1) It took Telstra 6 days to respond
2) TPG is perfectly fine with that fact that it takes Telstra 6 days to respond to an order

When I called to inquire why it was taking so long TPG had the audacity to tell me to call Telstra and find out what the hold up was. Hello! I’m not Telstra’s customer, I’m yours!!! To this day, TPG has yet to respond to my written inquiry which I lodged back in April. TPG is not the only provider at fault here. It’s like Telstra has them all in headlock that no provider can break free of. Everyone’s scared of challenging Telstra. It’s pathetic.

Finally Telstra did their bit and despite TPG’s verbal guarantee that we would be connected on 28 April, we were NOT connected. What followed after this was me negotiating with TPG to get us connected. Seriously, I had to negotiate with them to get them to complete the installation job that they had already billed us for back on 12 April. I don’t understand why no provider will take ownership and simply say “you do business with us and we’ll guarantee that we’ll connect you”. It’s such a simple concept that would easily make your business look more attractive and yet no one will do it. In Hong Kong it takes 1 day to get connected. In Bangkok it takes about 10 days. Sydney, 23 days.

While most travelers won’t have to go through this ordeal, those with working holiday visas be aware if you get your own flat!

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