THE frustration factor is high in the Nye household at the moment.
Tony says he feels like hitting someone and he doesn’t look like he’s kidding.
The landline telephone and the internet are down again, have been for the past five days, both connected through Telstra to NBN Co via the white, diamond-shaped, fixed wireless antenna on the roof of his house in the tiny South Gippsland township of Bena.
It points towards a telecommunications tower, in a clear line of sight, little more than 250 metres away.
The failure is the latest in a long line of outages over the past 18 months, since NBN Co came out and changed the antenna setup in 2017.
“Before that, we were among the first to switch to NBN, about four or five years ago, and it was great, no problem,” said Tony this week.
“But I reckon it all started when they changed the antenna. That’s where the problem is, I believe, but they refuse to send anyone out.
“Just getting in touch with them is virtually impossible.
“You can’t get a phone number and Telstra won’t give it to you.”
What really got Tony’s goat was the three weeks offline a month or so ago, just after his wife had a knee replacement operation, following a long run of trouble with her knee.
“My wife was in hospital at the time and I was wanting to be in constant contact with her, which I had to do over the mobile. We had information on treatment etc., supposed to be coming through from the surgeon, the hospital, our GP, district nurse and the pharmacy. But nothing.
“That’s what created the urgency.
“They eventually got it back on but three days later it was off again.
“We’ve both got mobile phones, but we kept the landline because it’s cheaper. Now instead of paying $30 pre-paid in a year, we’re both running up about $30 a month now. It’s unacceptable.
“Also, I’m the president of the Bena Hall committee, a not-for-profit organisation and we’re trying to do some hall renovations at the moment. I’ve got a 40-page quote from the builder sitting there but I can’t get access to it. I want to be able to pass it on to the other committee members.
“We also have bookings at the hall and run events.”
He’s tried to contact NBN with limited success. They lodged a complaint with Telstra which ultimately sent out a technician and
decided it was an NBN Co problem.
“NBN Co will not attend. They’re a law unto themselves in my view. They won’t do anything. They get so many complaints, another one simply doesn’t matter to them.
“Telstra finally escalated the complaint to NBN Co on our behalf, but they came back and said there was a general problem in the area. But there’s not. None of our neighbours are out, nor anyone else around here we’ve spoken to. It’s a lot of bull.
“They always tell you to do all the checks. Turn the modem on and off and all that but we know it’s not that.
“You get back online and then it will be off again.
“Telstra couldn’t help us, NBN couldn’t or wouldn’t help either so we made a complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). If there isn’t something done in 10 days, we’re supposed to contact them again and they’ll take it to the next level. Each time it’s a penalty for the operator but they told us there had been 11,886 complaints in the month, and that was only up until July 20 with another 11 days to go.
“It’s out of control.
“We’ve also contacted the local Federal MP Russell Broadbent and they’ve gone into bat for us. At least we got a result there. We had a call from Telstra on Friday and they say they’ve given it to their Executive Complaints Department, the highest you can go, so hopefully we’ll get a result.
“But either way, it’s not good enough.”
Tony is just as unhappy with the fact that there’s no easy way to contact NBN Co and to get them to respond, much less take action.
“Telstra acknowledged to us that they’re aware we’ve had many, many issues over a long period of time. We’ll just wait and see if they can do something this time and if it lasts.”
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Complaints line – What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate