Notification of NBN Planned Outage

My NBN connection went down at 7:30am yesterday. I checked the NBNCo website and it advised me that there was a planned outage for 7:30am - 3:30pm.

It would have been nice to be notified beforehand about this. I couldn’t find anywhere on the NBNCo website where I could register for such (even if they do it) and the only vague advice was to contact my ISP.

I then contacted my ISP (Pentanet) who advised that they don’t get notified of planned outages so they couldn’t help. I subsequently did some searching and it seems that some ISP’s are notified of such outages and they advise their customers. Does anyone know the truth, specifically does the NBNCo advise the ISP’s of such planned outages? If they do then I’ll take it up with Pentanet, if they don’t then why not?

Thanks in advance.

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I am with Aussiebroadband. They relay all NBN planned maintenance outages well ahead - and there are lots of them. OTOH the NBN seems oblivious to planned grid outages that affect their pits. The power goes down, the NBN goes down, and hours later NBN still is ‘investigating’. All we end users can do under the system is complain to our RSP to complain to the NBN. If there is no active case number the NBN will reject the complaint.

For clarity, from the NBN web site

nbn is a wholesaler so in most cases you will need to speak with your phone and internet provider if you have a query. eg you need to complain to Pentanet to resolve their situation with NBN.

Overall (some may put it differently) the whole NBNCo organisation is, in spite of many dedicated and competent staff there, overall a clown show and the RSPs are mostly as innocent a victim as we end customers.

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Thanks Phil,

It seems Pentanet was misleading me, which I will take up with them.

I fully agree with your clown show comments - this is just an endless game of “pass the parcel” and the music always stops when the customer has the parcel.

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Of course the RSP gets compensated for some faults in the nbn™, however customer compensation is lacking. The only one who may pay some compensation is Telstra under the Customer Service Guarantee, and that too can be hard to get.

So what we have is obscurity by design and hand wringing by corporates as a customer sympathy payment. Monetary reimbursement to customers is not something they want to have to do when we suffer an outage to our internet services. I think if they had to pay back customers when outages happen, we would see greater transparency and faster fixes.

nbn™ because of the mixed tech requires a lot more maintenance now than if it was largely fibre.

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minister.rowland@mo.communications.gov.au
is the email address of Michelle Rowland, the new minister for communications.

Also ACMA should be notified. The CEO is Nerida O’Loughlin. Also worth notifying David Pocock.

It is risky going to the TIO. I know that Telstra will automatically act against you if you go to the TIO. Not sure about other providers.

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Experience with getting a specific issue addressed. Without a fair attempt at seeking resolution I’ve typically been referred by our elected representatives staff (one rarely gets a personal response) to the resources intended to resolve. IE the ACMA and TIO. Neither will be of much use if one has not exhausted all avenues with your RSP and can provide a reasonable amount of supporting content that reliably describes the circumstances and issue.

Note - the current advice on how to proceed.

An Aside,
Raising issues with a Federal Minister is available to all of us. The other option is your local Federal MP. I judge their future electability on how they respond, irrespective of their background. Any advice to write to a particular Senator might best be to one who represents your actual state or territory, and consider what their areas or interests are. One observation is they are more heavily guided on national interests and are most likely to refer the matter to your local MP with a polite thank you for your interest. Typically I expect any reply to include an invite to complete a survey agreeing or not with the members areas of concern, along with a few of my own. Full contact details requested. It can be an opportunity to get to know their office staff better, if that suits.

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This has been my experience with Aussie BB as well. I get notifications of planned outages in advance which is good. I’m currently looking forward to one on Friday between 7:00am and 3:00pm. (WHAT, you say?!?!? 8 HOURS? I know, right? )

What does not work for me is an email telling me of an unplanned outage. My preference for SMS notification is ignored.

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I’m with ABB too and yes I regularly receive notifications of planned outages. Most of these are for a period of time between midnight and say 3am. I also get notifications when unplanned outages occur too. They then follow up with notifications that the outage has been recified. Lots of emails but at least they try and keep you informed.

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Those long ones may be local power outages (courtesy of grid maintenance) that take the power down at your NBN ‘pit’. I have had two ‘unplanned’ 8 hour downs because of same and the wonderful staff at NBN seemed to have been oblivious why the area HFC went down too. 3 hours in the NBN/ABB notification remained ‘under investigation’. Like clockwork everything came back online shortly after the planned grid maintenance period.

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Do I understand you correclty? You’re referring to the general power grid? I’m on HFC NBN in suburban Melbourne. I doubt very much this is a planned power grid outage.

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We have had 2 planned 8 hour grid (local area power) maintenance outages in Eltham so far this year. Neither affected my house but both affected ‘my’ NBN pit and off the HFC went for the duration. NBN did not seem aware of either.

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One of the large problems for HFC is power outages at any point that it is still cable. As @PhilT notes his power was not affected but at some point in the HFC chain there was power loss. This power outage can be quite some distance from your residence and if it occurs at a concentrator (multiple HFC lines changing to a Fibre connection) this can be quite wide in effect.

The actual power outage could have been because of powerline damage, planned work in an area, emergency repairs in an area, really any number of reasons. There is no backup power system for HFC.

FTTN there is some backup power at the Node (typically at most a couple of hours). Wireless, Satellite and FTTC can have backup power supplies from the premises they are connected to (this may be a substantial requirement so a couple of hours would be typical uptime possible). Optical Fibre also can have power from the premises where it is connected, it’s use of power is very minimal so if the backup power is large enough in capacity it can run for quite some time, the small backup batteries that NBN Co used to supply could keep the connection up for about 4 hours.

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We are always notified by our isp AGL in advance of any planned maintenance. Most of the time our internet isn’t disrupted, so I usually ignore these messages.

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I am with iinet and get advised by SMS when there is a planned outage.

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Same here. Aussie Broadband notifies any NBN outages well ahead.

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I’ve had a running “battle” with Telstra regarding their lack of service regarding notification of future outages and recognition that an outage is actually happening. Other than an outage due to a tree down in our street which knocked the power out for a week, I’ve never seen a notice on their outage page to say we have an outage, even though the NBN outage site shows we do have one; and most of which are planned outages. With so many people working from home now, internet access is vital and warnings regarding outages are a very necessary service. With all the technology available now, it can’t be rocket science to pull the outage information, both planned and unplanned, from the NBN site and send an SMS to affected customers.

PS: Most times I have an outage without notification I complain, firstly to Telstra’s service desk, and then to their customer complaints group. It lowers my blood pressure and usually results in a credit on my next bill.

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We have had several unplanned internet outages over the past 2 years, which have coincided exactly with planned power outages nearby (per outage tracker websites which showed works within a few hundred metres from our address). The internet stopped at the exact time of the planned power works being due to commence. Each time we were not impacted by the planned power outage (other than loss of internet), and hence not notified in advance.
On contacting our internet provider (ABB) they told us they were not aware of any planned impact to the NBN - they had not been notified of such by NBN, hence were not able to forewarn us.
I then contacted our power supplier Ausnet who declared their planned works did not impact the NBN in our area and so they had not needed to notify the NBN of the potential for disruption.
(And hence NBN in turn would not have needed to notify ABB. There is no way to contact NBN to ascertain if any of this is correct, so we have to take it all on trust.)
Since the unplanned internet outages always coincided perfectly with planned power outages and were affecting my ability to work from home during the pandemic, I complained to Ausnet and asked them to compensate me for lost income due to inability to work from home, claiming my hourly rate of pay for the hours affected. I didn’t really expect them to cough up, but figured it might trigger some sort of response. It didn’t. They just repeatedly denied any responsibility.
I next complained to the Energy Ombudsman, whose response was simply that Ausnet denied their planned works impacted the NBN and our internet. Not being satisfied with this response, I pushed back and asked the Ombudsman to investigate further - they didn’t, and seemed to have very little power to achieve anything at all. They did suggest I contact the TIO.
I duly did this and they were also ineffective, referring me back to the Energy Ombudsman!
It seems we are at the mercy of a broken communication chain between energy suppliers and the NBN, with each blaming the other in a circular fashion and no effective accountability. Both Ombudsmen were a waste of time and effort.
Customers are hostages to this broken system with no means to achieve resolution nor effect change. I don’t understand why there is not more transparency and accountability required.

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The icing on the incompetence is that NBN still has not learned to check the grid supplies when they have an ‘unplanned’ outage and many hours later it is still ‘under investigation’. It is up to us customers to think to check the grid supply, and if there is a planned maintenance outage in a particular area we can rely on it being the cause of our down time and plan accordingly.

It reinforces the fragility and unfit for purpose the overall NBN is from technology to management to management across responsible parties (grid-NBN-RSP).

Last time this happened I asked ABB to lodge a formal complaint to NBN about the lack of communication. NBN rejected it since there was no open case. ABB opened a case and (re)sent the complaint. It went into the black hole from then on.

By now one would expect NBN would have long ago advised the grid operator(s) where their pits and points of power failure lie so they would be timely advised of planned outages. Too hard, apparently. ‘It is their problem’ whoever ‘their’ may be.

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Same here Phil - ABB logged a complaint with NBN on our behalf, and despite numerous attempts to f/up with NBN, there was never any response.
This is what I find so unpalatable - that we pay for a service prone to issues - and I don’t blame the ISP - ABB have been sympathetic but limited in what resolution they can achieve - while the root cause - power suppliers and NBN - apparently answer to no-one and have no accountability.
How can this happen?!! What can we, as a consumer group, do to change it? @CHOICE can you help?

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My experience of NBN’s Fixed Wireless B/B is such that I nominated them for a Shonky this year .Would there be any seconders for that ?

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