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What the heck is going on!!!???

tommy_1959

Where to begin?  I have the $149 cable/phone bundle with "all you can eat" broadband.  Usually my speeds are 100Mbps on the PC connected directly to the modem and 30 Mbps for WiFi devices.  That is consistent and only usually influenced by the rare outage.  Up until this week I was more than satisfied with my service.  I pay on time, every time and would class myself as a good customer.

 

Last Sunday night my internet disconnected without warning.  I did the usual checks...cycled the modem, etc.  No luck.  I then called tech support.  Yes, they told me, there was an outage in the area and the network guys were on to it.  The net came back on early on Monday morning (about 1am) with wildly fluctuating speeds.  Okay...you expect the occasional outage, right?

 

On Monday night my speed drops to around 3 to 7 Mbps across all my devices.  So I cycle the modem...no luck.  I ring tech support...oh yes, they tell me, there is a problem still and they would credit me $40 on my bill because of the service problems.  Nice gesture but all I really wanted was my net service back to "normal".

 

Last night the speeds were appalling.  So I ring tech support again.  This time I'm told that it's not a technical issue but network congestion...the guy told me this with scant time to actually check on his monitor imho.  Too many people streaming on your node was his suggestion.  Now that's funny because lots of my neighbours are also on cable and they use things like Netflix all the time and we've never, collectively, had a problem...only since Sunday night!  So I tell him (nicely...I actually tell him I am not angry at him personally but very dissapointed with the service I am getting) that I might have to disconnect with Optus (...this after being a loyal broadband and mobile customer who pays on time every time for years!).  He basically says, "That's fine.  I understand your frustration but there is NOTHING I can do about it...talk to the "customer retention team" in the morning and cancel your connection.  Just like that!  No guarantee about when the service would be back to normal...he basically was telling me to like it or lump it!

 

Now I pay good money for a high speed connection.  This is a dreadful attitude to have.  "Too bad...accept it or just jump ship!"  No!  I want my service back to normal!!!  I don't want fast internet speeds just in the wee hours of the mornings!  Fix this, Optus....fix it!  I have lodged a formal written complaint but I want someone to publically apologise for this appalling mess!

 

EDIT:

 

I spoke to a "supervisor" in the foreign call centre this afternoon.  All sorts of assurances that things would be investigated and to keep tabs on my speed.

 

Well...guess what?  I'm down to about 4Mbps now (8.41pm) whereas at about 4pm this afternoon speeds were normal.  So my beef is what is the point of having fast cable when at the time you most need it it's not there?  I want Optus to give me a number for the TIO because I've had a gutful of the run around.

 

This whole situation stinks!  Lots of words from tech support amounting to vapour...no action!

Re: What the heck is going on!!!???

tommy_1959

More on this saga.  I have now lodged a complaint with the TIO and I am willing to keep escalating the complaints until something is done.  I spoke to someone from their complaints department today.  Nice bloke...very apologetic, always kept saying "I know where you're coming from"...etc.  But no promises...no indication as to if the problem will be fixed.  He offered to send a tech to my house but my equipment is not at fault...anyone with a modicum of internet nouce can see that in that the speeds return to about 100Mbps (tethered) and sometimes even 40Mbps on WiFi devices during "off peak" times.  The problem is the network, which he conceded.  He also conceded that no further work was being scheduled for my node (Wheelers Hill 22 EB 022).  I guess Optus has sold a bucket load of cable internet, slowing down everyone's speed and hoping to hell that when we all churn to NBN things will get fixed.

 

Honestly if this was the US any ISP doing this sort of thing would be fried by their consumer affairs people.  In Australia we all tend to moan individually but then we seem to do nothing.  The only thing which will force Optus to do something about this terrible congestion situation is to complain over and over again until everyone at Optus knows your name and keep plugging away at them with the TIO.  At some point there needs to be an official investigation of why some parts of the Optus cable network are letting so many of their customers down.  Even here in the community I notice that no official Optus person will touch the more bitter complaint posts like mine.

 

Optus...get this straight.  You can't keep marketing something as a top speed service when you can no longer deliver this aim to so many of your customers.  At some stage I would think the government will cast their eyes over what is happeing on the Optus network.  

 

Me...once I get concrete proof of Telstra's superiority in net speed during "peak hours" I am going to bail on Optus.  I will NEVER buy any of their products again unless they come up with a proper fix for this mess.

Re: What the heck is going on!!!???

Nghi

Hey tommy_1959, so sorry for the delay in replying Smiley Sad I've only just come back from annual leave and got your private message. I'll grab more info from you in there and see what I can find out for you. If you've already made a formal complaint with TIO then a member of our Customer Relations Group will be in touch within 10 business days.

Re: What the heck is going on!!!???

beetroot

Tommy I too am in the same position. I haven't escalated the matter as far as you have though. I called Optus and the person I spoke to mentioned that they would place me on a "Network Congestion Notification" service (or wording to the effect of), he asked for my mobile number and informed me that any updates regarding fixed line congestion would be texted to my mobile. He also informed me that Optus was aware of network congestion in my area and that engineers were working on the issue but required parts.

 

Unfortunately as we all know, the credibility of the Optus call centre is shot to pieces so I took all of his information with a grain of salt. The day after I called, I received an SMS from 0421 267 500 (Optus) with the following content:

 

"OPTUS: Hi, stay tuned for updates on network improvements that will impact your service. For further information go to http://yesopt.us/gk"

 

That was on the 9th of March and I have received no further information since. The link in the message took me to a troublshooting page. Basically putting the onus back on me the customer to make sure that I don't have any bandwidth hogging computers/services running on my home network which would be causing congestion.

 

I can say that during the evenings I am lucky to get 5mpbs down and during the mornings  I get close to 30mpbs down. I am on the 30mbps speed pack.

 

I agree with you Tommy, this is unacceptable and there should be regulations in place to stop ISP's from signing up customers or providing them with speed packs like your's if their network cannot take the load. I assume this has something to do with the uptake of video streaming services like Netflix, Stan, Presto, Foxtel Play and even Youtube. Still this is not the customers fault.

 

How can Optus advertise to provide so many online services when their network can't handle the load?

Then, when you question them about the congestion, they tell you to turn off these services and you bandwidth will be better?

 

Well I wasted my time and went through all the advice in the link above, and guess what... no difference.

 

Optus if you sincerely cared about your customers, just put your hand up and explain that there is a network congestion issue and provide us with a reasonable timeframe that it will take to fix it. Don't beat around the bush about it. We signed up to a service, there is clearly an issue with the way it is being provided and that is not our fault. So please fess up and fix the network congestion problems we are experiencing.

 

 

Beetroot

Re: What the heck is going on!!!???

Hollie

Hey beetroot,

 

Congestion is definitely something we're aware of and working on - we've actually written a blog about it here. More than happy to have a look at your particular service to see if there are any upgrades happening in your area or anything else that may be influencing your connection. Just to let you know though I'm unable to provide ETR's for upgrades unless they are under-way or taking place in the next week or so. 

 

Please PM me your full name, DOB & Internet username or account number and I'll have a look into this further for you. 

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Re: What the heck is going on!!!???

tommy_1959

Hi Nghi,

            I also apologise for my late reply as other things have taken preference at home at the moment.  

A gentleman called Nathan from your South Australian Customer Relations department has been in contact with me and is mediating the problem.

 

As to the congestion he was quite frank in saying there was not a lot that your technical people were going to do about it, given that the NBN will be taking over the node concerned by the end of the year.

 

Thanks for the offer of help.

Re: What the heck is going on!!!???

tommy_1959

Hi Beetroot,

                  Sorry about my late reply...as I said above...home issues have kept me occupied.

 

The gentleman from Optus Complaints and Customer Relations department was quite frank with me.  There was nothing to be done about the congestion as no upgrades were being planned for my node, due to the approaching connection of that node to the NBN (probably by the end of this year).  I was offered a percentage of credit on my next bills and a renegotiated price for renewing my contract which was much lower than I paid before.

 

To be quite frank, I'm not entirely happy about the state of affairs but at least the guy was honest with me about the congestion and me getting angry with him (he is only doing his job, after all) would not have changed anything and only made an unpleasant situation even more so.

 

You have correctly surmised the problem with the current cable network...it cannot cope very well with the onset of all these new streaming services.  Other ISPs utilising ADSL2 and Telstra with all their services have been working to increase the bandwidth on their services but I've not heard anything about Optus following suit.  The difficulty is, of course, that if Optus keeps signing up new customers on the cable service promising the world but unable to deliver they are going to end up with a very irate customer base and an intolerable congestion situation.  Only a certain number of horses can drink from the same trough!  Something Optus forgets, me thinks!

 

Good luck and keep plugging away.  I found reporting the issue to the TIO got the ball moving much quicker.  It's something you might consider doing.

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Re: What the heck is going on!!!???

[ Edited ]
beetroot

Hi Hollie,

 

I apologise for not responding to you. I just didn’t want to go around in circles any further.

 

I appreciate your acknowledgement of a congestion issue but I don’t understand what your claim to be able to “look into this further” for me will accomplish.  You do realise that the congestion is caused by the lack of bandwidth available due to poor planning and hard sales targets. You continue to immerse the network with new signups and promise high speed internet with all the bells and whistles yet your network is sub-standard. 16% of a 30Mbps advertised bandwidth is not high speed or superior.

It’s a bit like the NSW RMS telling me that they aware of a road congestion issue and if I leave them with my details, they’ll look into it for me. You looking into it has nothing to do with me and you shouldn’t require my details. If your engineers knew what they were doing, they would be able to pinpoint the low bandwidth areas and do something about it without anyone having to tell them a single thing. And stop saying it’s “congestion”, by calling it congestion you are basically blaming your customers for using the internet.

 

Also, I wasn’t prepared to go on another wild goose chase with your technicians as I’m sure you would’ve tried to put me in touch with a technician who would have gone through a hoop jumping exercise with me. I’m sorry, but the link to the network congestion blog was a waste of time. You’re a telecommunications company, you shouldn’t be reacting to signups you should be forward planning (proactive) to prevent congestion. You can’t possibly expect people to believe and accept that you didn’t expect more customers would be using the internet this year compared to last. Or that you had no idea online streaming services like Netflix and Stan were coming to Australia. Optus themselves offer an IP video streaming service and have contributed to the bandwidth choke so don’t pass the buck and try to claim that you didn’t know the take up of these services was going to be so popular. I’m beginning to think your network engineers moonlight as NSW infrastructure and planning personnel because the state of our roads in Sydney is very similar to the state of your network at peak times. All that blog does is try to wrap up the issue in a trendy manner and point the finger at everything else. Then the blog claims that you actively monitor the network to optimise performance. Well I have been having a bandwidth issue for close 6 months and you not doing anything to address it is not active by any means, and what/where are the “select areas” your blog claims to be upgrading?

 

Just show a little transparency, work with your customers and stop treating us like fools.

 

I have posted the following letter to Optus Customer Relations. And I plan to keep you all updated on any correspondance I receive as a result. The content of the letter can be found at the following link. I tried to post it here but it was removed 3 times. I have omitted any personally identifiable information from this version: Open Letter of Complaint to Optus

 

Beetroot

Re: What the heck is going on!!!???

beetroot

Latest update. The open letter of complaint has been delivered according to AusPost's online tracking website.

 

Australia Post.png

 

So that's three days for the registered letter to get delivered. The ball is in their court now, I shall continue to provide updates as I receive them.

 

The purpose of this exercise is to share with others my experience and outcome as well as the entire workflow of Optus' customer relations protocols with regards to my issue. Others experiencing similar issues will then be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not it is worth their effort.

 

Futhermore, it is an opportunity for Optus to provide much needed clarification, feedback and available recourse to others in similar situations.

Beetroot

Re: What the heck is going on!!!???

beetroot

Update:

 

I Haven't heard from Customer Relations yet (I expect at least 10-15 days turnaround). However @Hollie took the bull by the horns and managed to calm the beast that is @beetroot.

 

Before I elaborate, let me say that if you are unhappy with your service and you have chosen to speak out in this forum as I have, then please take the opportunity to have a private discussion with a moderator if it is offered to you. And moderators, please don't make assumptions about what the customer is (or is not) going to be interested in what you have to offer.

 

I have not managed to get my lack of bandwidth issue resolved however I have been provided with an option which has allowed me to make an informed decision to remain with Optus for at least the next three months. (Like I said, if you're in the same boat, get a moderator's attention and speak to them)

 

In my scenario, I can't get NBN yet and I am too far from an exchange to receive any decent speeds from any ADSL provider, therefore the only feasible internet medium for me to use is cable. Unfortunately this means that I have to choose between Optus and Telstra. Last night I spoke with Telstra and I'll say right now that if I move to Telstra I will be worse off by at least $20 per month with their closest comparable plan.

 

I still share a difference of opinion with Optus regarding the way they continue to sign people up to these congested nodes and portray their services as fast and reliable. Nonetheless, I was shown empathy and provided with an opportunity to make an informed decision, for that I am grateful.

 

Thank you @Hollie

Beetroot
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