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Let’s talk about nbn™

Posted by (Blog Author)
10th Aug 2017, 9:03am
RohanGaneson

Rohan Ganeson banner.png

 

New and untried technology or business models almost always come with teething challenges. The National Broadband Network, commonly known as nbn™, is no exception. The nbn™ is a key example of an emerging technology and business with incredible benefits for Australians, but one that has arrived with its own set of obstacles that we need to master.

 

At present we have two major challenges when it comes to the nbn™. One is the time it takes to connect customers to the nbn™ network and the second, relates to download speeds (especially at peak times), once customers are set up and connected. These issues affect the entire telecommunications industry as well as nbn™ themselves - but I can speak specifically about what Optus is doing to deliver a better customer experience.

 

I’ll start by addressing the time it takes to get customers set up and connected to nbn™. Currently, an unprecedented number of people are migrating to the nbn™, as we transition from older copper and cable technology to new fibre-based technologies across Australia, suburb by suburb. As a result of the high number of migrations, the time it takes from a customer placing an order with us to having nbn™ installed at their property has sometimes taken too long. Where you live and the type of building you reside in also affects how long it can take to get you set up with nbn™. For instance, some households require remedial civil works (i.e. new cabling into the home from the street) in order to access the new network.

 

To alleviate these connectivity delays, there are a number of things we are doing. Firstly, nbn™ themselves is putting more technicians on the ground and secondly, Optus is establishing new systems and processes together that will make ordering and installing nbn™ quicker and simpler. For example, we are working with nbn™ to ensure any remedial work on your house is complete prior to accepting your order; that way your current service will remain in place until your house is nbn™ ready.

We have also implemented a system that allows us to see every Optus nbn™ order in flight so we can track and trace your order in the system; this will give us and you more transparency about the status of your order so you know exactly when you can expect its arrival and installation.

 

In terms of download speeds, there are a number of factors that can influence the actual speed you receive in the home at any time. One issue relates to the network capacity available to be shared across users at peak times (generally after school and at weekends). The industry is working with nbn™ to look at current wholesale price arrangements for this network capacity so that we can provide a better experience but at the same reasonable price.

 

The secondary issue relates to how your in-home broadband is setup. nbn™ speeds are heavily affected by the quality of your home wiring, building structure or Wi-Fi modem. These internal factors can affect the speed that you receive which might be less than the theoretical maximum speed of the service. For example, if you have an old modem/router or high speed Wi-Fi can’t penetrate your home walls, your network speed and performance will degrade. To tackle this, we’ve implemented a number of measures. Firstly, you’ll soon be able to self-diagnose performance issues with your nbn™ service via My Optus app. Through the app you’ll be able to track and trace your nbn™ order as well as test your broadband link and diagnose issues with your Wi-Fi coverage. We will also introduce Wi-Fi Mesh products (such as Google Wi-Fi) that provide better Wi-Fi coverage in your home. Being able to manage your service digitally means you’ll be able to fix problems whenever you need to. Secondly we’ll be providing more information on our website and our customer support platform Yes Crowd so you can find answers and advice on nbn™ 24/7.

 

Despite some initial challenges, there are many benefits of nbn™. From education and business to socialising and entertainment, speedy internet will be revolutionary across every aspect of life in Australia. It will transform the way we stream and download content, watch sports, play games and keep in touch with loved ones.  We’ll become even more connected than ever before so we greatly appreciate your patience whilst we work to bring you this incredible new technology.

 

As always, if you have any comments or questions for me, please leave them below.

Comments
petergdownload
by Trusted Contributor
‎2017-08-10 10:59 AM

Thanks for the information Rohan. Its good to see Optus getting proactive with some of the issues many customers have commented on. Much of the problems seem to stem from no one having any information of what if anything is or can be done. Implimenting these systems (internally and for the customer to access) sounds like great initiatives.

 

If customer take up rates are too high then Optus does have one very obvious way to manage that - stop cancelling (existing) customers broadband after just three months of becoming NBN Ready. This crams suburbs worth of customers in to migrating in just a matter of a month or two instead of over a year or more. Its little wonder NBN and Optus resources become stressed.

 

I figure (poor) customer setups must contibute to a lot of complaints but the volume of posts noting performance drops in peak hours suggests Optus really needs to be looking inwards rather than outwards. Along with Telstra, Optus is unique among the Telcos of having long provided high speed bandwidth via HFC. Your customers (I'd wager on average more tech savy) have had their house setup working fine until now - what has changed is the NBN.

 

I've commented before that Optus should be using the industry wide poor performance as an oportunity to differentiate on performance. Instead like all the other Telcos they seem to be embracing a corner cutting approach. As I see it, the problem is customers have not adapted to the new price requirements. Optus specifically suffers from this with so many more customers having been on HFC seeing the NBN as getting less for more. Instead of fronting this, issue Optus are trying to pretend its business as usual with (just two) plans that are not up to the task in many households but which are priced similar to pre-NBN.

 

It doesn't help that Optus are including PVRs, Entertainment Packs, Free Streaming, EPL, unlimited downloads etc. which all bite into cost and performance, but I appreciate the business reason for going down this 'content' path. IMO Optus should be offering a third plan. One that is manageable and focuses on performance, something that (as the second biggest Telco) could lead the industry towards what the NBN will become. 

 

  • Sold as the Performance plan
  • Leave off the extras (Fetch, etc.)

  • Go the 50/20 tier to differentiate from other plans
  • Cap monthly data to 1Tb
  • Provision to ensure its hitting 75% of its speeds 24/7
  • Price accordingly - $100?

A while ago petrol prices topped $1 for the first time (signs had to be replaced, the population panicked, driving to work was not going to be possible, etc.) Now $1.50 is not even blinked at. The NBN is similar IMO. Customers (and Telcos) will need to adjust their price performance points - Optus HFC perfomance used to be $80. Its now $100 (or more.) Word of mouth is very powerful in this industry and if Optus can get a reputation for a product that performs people will pay the extra.

 

Anyway, that's my 0.02c 

 

Looking forward to seeing the impact of these new initatives.

 

Regards

 

Peter Gillespie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Davelew
by Valued Contributor
‎2017-08-10 03:20 PM

Hi

 

I think @petergdownload has summed up many peoples view of Optus and it's response to the implementation of the NBN.

 

As Peter comments Optus does seem to go down the path that they know better than their customers as to their technical knowledge.   Prior to the NBN many customers have optimised their modem/routers to provide what they require.   For instance I require to be able to manage my DNS addresses and add static routes.  Optus make this nearly impossible with the modems they supply and when this is queried respond with the stock "This is best for our customers".

 

Of course there will be teething problems with the implemtation of NBN but if you follow the comments and complaints in Yes Crowd many come down to when they speak to an Optus support member all they receive is a few well rehearsed lines without answering any of the issues raised.    Extra and proficient training of staff would seem to be required.   I can but refer you to the marked difference if you have a technical issue when you call IInet.   Efficient and knowledgeable technical staff and a call back service which works.

 

I know this all costs money but many of your customers will not stay with Optus if they don't get what they are paying for and they spread the word to others of their disappointment.

 

Well that's a total of 0.04c worth from your Yes Crowd members.

 

Regards

 

Dave Lewington

 

 

 

 

 

 

tbz
by Contributor tbz
‎2017-08-11 07:52 AM

Optus HFC matured into a great product over the years and possibly Optus NBN can do the same.

 

Optus mobile network has matured into a fairly good product over the years.

 

Optus customer service has degraded significantly over the years, mostly the last couple of years, you can not speak to anyone with any authority or knowledge at all any more. The CSR's tell you anything to convince you that they have solved your problem, yet nothing is actually done to fix your problem and no details are recorded against your account so next time you start from scratch, starting with a 1 hour wait time to be shuffled around and lied to.

 

Optus products are not the problem, Optus Customer Service is the problem.

 

NBN proceedures and CVC allocation will settle down, but that will still leave Optus Customer Service to be attended to.

petergdownload
by Trusted Contributor
‎2017-08-12 10:39 PM

Interesting new plans launched today. Smiley Surprised Free month to month. Pure performance.  I hope they prove sucessful for Optus. One possible anomaly I spotted was the new basic plan costs $20 more than the other basic plan (which is also still available). 

 

Regards

 

Peter Gillespie

petergdownload
by Trusted Contributor
‎2017-08-13 09:01 AM

My mistake. Disregard the above (cant delete in blogs).

 

Regards

 

Peter Gillespie

Milesp
by Occasional Visitor Milesp
‎2017-08-18 09:17 AM

I've been extremely disgusted with the level of service we have received from Optus since we moved into our new home on May 12th. On the day we moved the NBN technician connected us to the NBN and supplied us with the modem. He advised us that there was a network issue and that the internet wouldn't work until it was resolved. To date it is still not resolved and both my wife and I have contacted Optus on numerous occasssions always to be told that we would get a response within two business days. In the 3 months that we have been trying to get our internet up and running never have Optus contacted us to advise us of the problem and when we can get connected. We have not been offered an alternative. We are both post-graduate students studying externally and I am expected to work from home occassionally thus without any internet service this is extremely frustrating. When we finally contacted the Ombudsman in relation to the matter a Fixed Resolver Team member rang me and was unbelievably blunt to the point of refusing to respond to me when I asked a question before she hung up on me. 

I am beyond dissapointed with the lack of service provided by Optus.

beetroot
by Frequent Contributor
‎2017-08-21 09:53 AM

@petergdownload, you mentioned: "Thanks for the information Rohan. Its good to see Optus getting proactive with some of the issues many customers have commented on"

 

Seems more like being reactive. If Optus were proactive, they would have released this informaiton prior to most customer comments. Secondly, There were no "Initiatives" mentioned, as the title of the commentry suggested, it's a discussion about the NBN. Sounds like @RohanGaneson is just expressing a common sense approach. You don't need a university degree or a flamboyant marketing team, just a little bit of common sense. There are no commitments let alone initiatives mentoned.

 

 

petergdownload
by Trusted Contributor
‎2017-08-21 11:49 AM

@beetroot

 

I take your point that Optus (like many) do seem to be playing catch up here. Perhaps what I should have said is I'm glad Optus are being active in this area. I disagree nothing new was announced, I see

 

1. Your current service will now remain in place until your house is nbn™ ready (That should reduce many frustrations)

2. Implemented a system that allows Optus to see every Optus nbn™ order so we can track and trace your order in the system - you know exactly when you can expect its arrival and installation. (Big customer request.)

3. Be able to self-diagnose performance issues with your nbn™ service via My Optus app. (Probably rudamentary, but might help)  

 

Of course, how these play out at the coal face is yet to be seen, but as far as I can tell the disconnected communication interface between NBN and all Telcos has been a big cause of people's concerns. It hasn't been helped by customer service people trying to guess or work around things (to varying degrees of success).

 

Regards

 

Peter Gillespie

GuruJ
by New Member GuruJ
‎2017-08-21 02:44 PM

I have a slightly different perspective. I'm still stuck on ADSL2 for now on a measly 3Mbps, but I've accepted that the technology meant that not much could be done to boost overall speed.

 

Unfortunately, in the last few weeks even this measly bandwidth has been getting congested in peak hours (4-6pm) to the point where it's basically impossible to do much more than browse the net. Since I work from home it is a big productivity drag.

 

I don't know whether I am being shunted on to NBN backhaul or it's just that Optus isn't upgrading legacy infrastructure any more. Either way, it is frustrating and it does appear to be related to the explosion in content streaming. I can't wait for the next 5-10 years to be over and for decent broadband performance to be the norm Smiley Sad

TommyB
by Frequent Contributor
‎2017-08-22 01:09 AM

Peter...you make many excellent salient "reply" points.  I would add that the biggest hassle with most HFC NBN Optus customers is that the new service is often inferior to the old HFC network in terms of consistent high speeds if one has the top tier speed pack (as I've written about with my own Optus woes here).  You and I both know that this is because Optus have just not bought and provisioned enough bandwidth to service this huge uptake of the NBN due to customers being kicked off the old cable system.  To me it seems Optus were in a mad rush to secure their customer base FIRST and only now are they realising they often can't supply the top speeds they advertise during the evening peak.  It reminds me of the marketing of the "Tucker" automobile.  Preston Tucker went on a wild customer gathering spree offering customers the chance to buy part of the vehicle they wanted to buy and promising the car would be produced and delivered when production ramped up to speed "within weeks".  It soon became evident he was taking customer's money and often delivering the part but he had no hope of delivering the cars.  He went broke whem the customers twigged.  Salient lesson there, Optus.