Got sent by a friend a copy of her e-mail to Amy Adams on her struggle to get rural broadband in Tamahere. It’s rather amusing, and with her permission I’m sharing it here:
Just wanted to share with you my crusade for the holy grail (holy grail being first world internet speeds):
I live out on xxx in Tamahere, Waikato this has been a well established rural area with a lot more lifestyle blocks being built out here. We are only 7minutes out of the main city area.
We are hooked up to Sparks Rural Broadband Business unlimited plan. It’s the only broadband that is affordable and that we can get out here.
- A Naïve girl trying to make a difference
My first correspondence starts with trusting the automated voice with putting me in queue for 1hr+ for a ring back. After a solid few hours I get a call. I was currently out running errands. I explained my plight to the “fault and technical issues team” where I got told that it was outside their knowledge to run me through all the troubleshooting steps and that I would have to be put through to the technical team. I informed her that I would not be home for another hr and she said a techy from the technical team will give me a ring around midday. A whole day passed by with no call from Spark.
- Lets fight internet with internet, my experience with live chat
Round two begins a few days following when I was like bugger being put in a queue and leaving a call back to the merchants of chance and fate. I decided to hop on live chat hoping my internet speeds would support such a new age mode of online communication. But to my surprise the internet managed to give me that much. However the Spark live chat gave me nothing much in the way of advice:
00:00:03 Spark : Question:Really slow internet, lucky to get 0.5Mb when we should be getting 5Mb
00:01:10 Chris : ok
00:01:15 Chris : HEy xxx
00:01:23 xxx : Hi, just wanted to be talked through troubleshooting etc in the event you guys need to send a techy out. Our internet is slow and very patchy.
00:01:32 Chris : can you please confirm the number it’s on?
00:01:50 xxx : yyyyyyyy
00:03:23 Chris : Ok hold the chat and I’ll have someone from the residential team look at this!
00:05:31 xxx : Hi Nicole
00:05:58 Nicole : Hey There xxx. I can see you are having trouble with your internet.What is happening for you?
00:07:58 xxx : Well I moved in here beginning of July, and I’ve known this family for yrs and I know it’s always been rough getting decent internet out here but I recently discovered that given the new work on infrastructure out here we should be gauranteed atleast 5Mb speed. We’re lucky if we get 1Mb and that’s just to the one computer that’s ethernetted, wirelessly connected gets about 0.2Mb
00:10:52 Nicole : Thats not good xxx. This sounds like it is a bit more technical that we originally thought. I can organise for a Specialist to give you a call if you like.
00:11:19 xxx : Yea I was told some one would call me at midday…and here I am on here
00:11:30 xxx: would be nice if I got a call this time please
00:12:38 Nicole : Sure I will organise for someone to call you. They have a 32 min wait at the moment so it shouldn’t take to long. Whats the best number to call you on?
00:13:01 xxx : yyyyyyyy
00:14:45 Nicole : Great thats all booked in. Someone will call you shortly. Is there anything else I can help with?
00:16:41 xxx : no that’s it thank you
00:16:49 Nicole : Great have a good day
- Troubleshooting with the troublemakers
After an hr I receive a call from the techy to run me through all the troubleshooting. They also ran speed tests on the line to show that it’s showing speeds between 3.3-5Mbps. I reset the modem, try the modem in every known jack point in the house to run speed tests on all of them. Low and behold nothing was wrong on our end. The last and very inconvenient part was to test another modem on our internet or use our modem on a different internet connect to test to see if it was our modem crapping up. Otherwise so sad too bad no techy for you.
- Phoneline outage, the cherry on top of the shitty Spark cake.
In the meantime our phone lines go down and we get told there’s been an outage in our area since the beginning of August. When we get a techy out to fix our phone lines, Brian the account holder and who I live with also relays issues with our internet, the techy checks our modem and runs a speed test. Essentially confirming what we all thought, it most probably isn’t a fault in the line but just the sad reality of being at the end of the exchange and that pretty much every house on this end would be getting these same shitty speeds. He also told us there is actually a Fibre box installed at the end of our road and that it may be worth investigating into when that would get installed. Even suggest we write a letter to spark….umm lol?
- Out of the Broadband pan into the Fibre.
Now we come to the events of today (24th August). I checked on the Chorus website and saw that Fibre was installed but not due to be connected until June 2017.
So I thought I’d give the RBI angle one more go (currently still on the phone and have been writing this email in between being put on hold. Also had to sort out all the penalties and extra charges they put on my mobile phone account despite them never sending me any bills or warnings or jackshit, I got those penalties waived so I guess they managed to fix at least a couple of their muck ups today, have been on the phone now for 2hrs and counting) So I’ve relayed this message to about 3 different people today:
“I have been through the ringer and essentially this is the situation. We are part of the RBI. I have confirmation that we should be getting between 3.3-5Mbps and it also shows 5+Mbps on the Chorus RBI map on their website. For the past 2 months I have lived here we have never clocked a speed close to 1Mbps and I want to understand why that is and how you can sink in that much $$ into infrastructure and us not see 1Mbps of a result”
- Finally I actually get put through to a “specialised RBI team” what ever that means, so is this salvation? Or just another mirage in the rural broadband desert?
I gave her the same speech, now being able to recite it and multitask checking whats on the news. Crazy about police cocking up the Burdett case!? She says she has to run her own speedtest as she cannot pull up the history of my phone conversation with techy at point 3. As I was put on hold for what I hoped to be the last time in the 2hrs I’ve been on the phone, she comes back to inform me that due to a fault that was just registered on our line scheduled to be fixed today she cannot do a speedtest. After 2hr 10mins on the phone I am waiting for a ring back in order to run said testing to be able to file an “investigation” to get a tech guy out (at this point my brain was fighting as to whether or not I should throw my phone across the room) and I should HOPE to get a call back later today confirming.
I did get a call back pretty quick so pretty stoked about that small victory. They’re going to send a techy out to check the exchange in 24hrs. Let’s see what happens, my bet is that there will be nothing wrong with the exchange and the speed is attributed to congestion and distance.
- What have I learnt?
New Zealand is a 3rd world country where farmers are too stupid to realise they’re getting ripped off, or if they do realise they’re too busy trying to sustain a dying dairy farming industry to be on the phone for hrs at a time, multiple days a week.
Spark customer service runs a competition to see how many teams you can bounce one issue around on.
Treat them like I treat my one night stands, never EVER expect a call back. Expectations only leads to heartbreak and a possible brain aneurism.
I can last approx. 1hr-1hr20 on the phone before I start swearing at them.
Please 2degrees come back to my life.
Sorry if this is harsh and some of it expecting too much of Spark. But after a week of getting no where and talking to about nearly every broadband related team with Spark I have a sore back from being bent over and fucked by bureaucracy.
A very disgruntled and dismayed New Zealand citizen