CHOICE membership

NBN installation and the elderly


An elderly relly (82) is a already in a tiz over the NBN although nothing has happened. He will not get a computer but realises some of their uses, he gets a friend to google for information for him while he hangs on the phone and takes notes (?!). He is terrified of the prospect of his landline being replaced, he already hates the NBN although he has had very little to do with them, they have not started the process in any way and have had no chance to mess up yet but the idea that change will come some time in the future fills him with dread.

He knows that the fixed line will be replaced by a different kind of wire and it will have a modem. The disquiet this brings on suggests that somebody told him these plastic boxes will steal your soul come Walpurgis night. I cannot see any way that the NBN (or anybody) will ever make him happy about this unless they announce policy has reversed and that nothing will change, even then he would grumble about having his peace (or piece) of mind disturbed. Not all the challenges of implementing new technology are technical and organisational.


Yes, our leadership easily forgets about human consequences except when it’s their job on the line, dear voters.

We had similar issues for the proceeding 12 months with our MIL. From the weekly letters saying the phone was going to be cut off, and would you like Foxtel with your data pack and fee wireless modem?

Now it is all over and with some prior info from these forums we found that you can get just a phone only plan that fear has now gone. Until the modem fails sync or some one bumps the power cord?

On the soap box:
It would have been simpler to offer an all in one phone option with the modem and P.S. built into a fat base on a standard T1400 or similar. At least the current option provides for streaming when free to air is turned off.


NBN is rolling out in a town near us - visiting elderly friends and relatives - similar stories. Rushed and poor set-up in house for NBN box & phone, constant Scam calls from people pretending to be Telstra or the NBN. It is horrible how they frighten these people who have not had a computer, or rarely use one. Visiting now is interrupted by these calls. I tell them to hang up, but they are concerned that it is an important call (“He’s from Telstra dear”), even if the man gets abusive; I take over if they let me and terminate it.

Some rushed installations - eg couple in their 80’s, he’s just had a triple by-pass and 000 calls the week before. The young technician told them the phone they had between the kitchen and lounge for 20 years had to be moved. The NBN box was installed with the power cords going around the bathroom door, plugging into the only power point. The box was on a wobbly metal shelf that stuck out with sharp edges and she has slash marks on her arm from going past it. The phone is dangling from the box & power cord on the floor. The phone didn’t work, the Tech advised they needed to buy a new one, but this was the “new” one! The Tech intimated that they had got all they were going to get in hardware & time. They trust Telstra too much, and are convinced that it is their fault / problem that this does not work. They have engaged an electrician to put in another power point on the wall so they can close their bathroom door and rung a retailer to buy a new phone and have it installed where it had sat for 20 years. They don’t have a computer.


It’s saddening to read what happened here @zackarii. It sounds all too common.

There was good feedback in this thread. In response we arranged for one of the family to be with my MIL for everything to do with the NBN change over. From the Telstra shop and order thru to the install. In the end it was successful. MIL has turned 90. It’s left to the imagination how it may have turned out without our support.

Telstra or any other NBN provider should know better. They choose not to learn.

At least one other retired family member has already bid Telstra farewell and is ignoring the NBN. Mobile and data plan is so much simpler and less costly.


Absolute shocker :cry:


Similar experience with NBN installer people and a close ageing relative of mine. HFC on the power pole in the street, and they come to the door and ask where she wants the termination to go, telling her that if it is delivered overhead adjacent to the power it will block the driveway - of course she says no. Turns out ‘block the driveway’ means the small box they wanted to mount on the side wall would protrude 25mm or so, and could have been mounted high enough not to worry the car at all. Instead the feed now comes down the pole, underground across the concrete driveway which they had to cut and re-fill, then nearly 20 metres underground across the full width of the block following the footpath, through the concrete footpath which they also cut and filled, up a garden bed then along the side fence to the back of the house diagonally opposite default feed in location, up a wall, across the enclosed top of a gate, back along a brick wall and down to the feed point - which could not be further from a useful location. When it is activated it will no doubt be a few hundred to drag a feed back to where it would have been. Now it’s a done deal.

So many unsolved crimes, and here’s these geniuses wasting away as NBN contractors …