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Telstra trouble - Feeling disconnected?

Telstra will do just about anything to avoid having to come to your house to fix your connection crisis. You may know in your heart of hearts, through bitter personal experience, that the problem lies with the ISP and not your humble home setup, but each new contact with Telstra is a new chapter in the continuing story of your spotty internet access.


Been down this road before? No matter – it’s a whole new journey.

First you’ll need to undergo some healthy self-diagnoses by un-pugging and re-plugging your modem and perhaps a few other things under the tutelage of your new friend, the weary but friendly techie on the other end of the phone who’s been through this drill a few thousand times but seems to have limitless patience for your kind.

They like you so much that it immediately gets personal. You can call them back directly to follow up with anything – or at least you can call the number they text through and they’ll get right back on the case, unless of course they’re not there or are busy with someone else. In that case, you’ll have to forge ties with a new personal helper.

According to the Telstra techie, your internet speeds are just fine. They even direct you to some kind of official website to prove it. After a number of false starts, under the soothing guidance of the Telstra techie, you seem to find the right site. It looks like your speeds are through the roof!

But the optimistic graphs and squiggles indicating lightening-fast service at your premises look fishy to you.

What? The troubleshooting didn’t work? The Telstra rep suggests there’s something wrong on your end, not theirs. Is your modem an authorised Telstra modem? No? Hmmm. Let’s try another round of plugging and unplugging.

It’s weird that it’s your fault because you just hired one of those roving technician services to show up at your house and make sure all your home gear in is tiptop shape. You’ve used these people before and they’re good – at least you think they are. They even sold you a new modem and surge protector this time around.

And they left saying, ‘if it still doesn’t work or you have any more issues, it’s on Telstra’s end, not yours’.

The real mystery is how all this trouble came about in the first place. Your internet connection was working wonderfully, so wonderfully in fact that you were afraid to so much as touch or even breathe on your desktop for fear of breaking the magic spell. Your other devices worked intermittently depending on your location in the house.

Then the glorious run of reliable, sort of fast connectedness came to a sudden end – as mysteriously as it had begun.

Maybe you’re not alone. In the first half of the year, Telstra experienced seven major outages, and the free data they threw in to make amends only went so far.

Your new Telstra friend finally succumbs after about a half hour on the phone and agrees to send a Telstra van to your premises. You called in mid September – does late January next year work for you? Oh, and there will be a callout fee, on top of the hefty price premium you’re paying Telstra in the first place.

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We had builders about 150m down the road who dug up and damaged the Telstra cable in the footpath. It was pulled and was left about 0.5m above ground. Most of the neighbours between us and the damaged cable lost ADSL and home phone.

Even though the problem was obvious, we had to do the standard isolation test only to be told by our ISP that there was a problem with the line and it was most likely to be between the street connection and our house.

We said rubbish and said the cable was sticking out of the ground down the street and neighbours were in the same boat. They said that if Telstra came out and it was not their problem, we would be up for both the cost of the Telstra visit and our own technician to repair at our cost.

We said this was ludicrous as the cable was sticking out of the ground and we knew what the problem was. It appeared that they didn’t believe us.

Anyway, Telstra did come out 5 days later and fixed the phone lines to every other house but ours.

We complained to our ISP and they said that Telstra was busy and wouldn’t be out for another 7-10 days and hadn’t been out. We flipped and said that others had their phone fixed but us and it was a load of rubbish that Telstra was too busy as they were avialble to fix others phone.

We demanded a months credit on line rental and also ADSL/phone bundle costs and that if it was not resolved promptly, we would be going to the TIO and the media.

Surprisingly, the next day the line was fixed.

Telstra hold ISPs/competitors to ransom and their service is dreadful.

Even when a retail customer, they were expensive and didn’t care about the service they gave us.

We we decided to churn to another retailer, we got a reasonably rude phone call from them asking why we had changed provider and why we hadn’t spoken to them about what they could offer. They got an earful and we threatened to lodge a complaint as we were on the DNCR.

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LOL. We have had the same experience many times @AndyKollmorgen .

As my elderly mother with heart issues lives with us, we had gone through all the processes to get onto the Telstra life threatening illness medical priority list. We can have flaky mobile reception, so the landline is an essential fall back to call for an ambulance.

On each occasion we have had an outage, I do all the basic checks to make sure it’s not our equipment before phoning Telstra on the priority phone number about the line. No amount of telling them that I had done it could prevent them from following their script & requiring me to go through their processes asking about all the equipment we had connected, then isolating, etc.,etc.

After talking to Telstra on one occasion, I had the chance to talk to our immediate neighbours only to find out that everyone had lost their phone line. I turns out that an overhead phone line was taken out by a truck with an excavator on it, and the whole neighbourhood was out. According to neighbours this was apparently evidenced by the phone line hanging down onto the road.

After making a number of further calls we told we had been re-connected five or so days later. Unfortunately, the phone line didn’t work. Another phone call to a contact point given to me if the phone repair didn’t work. It took a bit of persuading to get the Telstra person to put me through, because apparently I (a mere pleb) shouldn’t be allowed to talk to these people. Eventually I got through and got someone reluctant to send another tech out.

Even though we were meant to be first repaired because of the medical priority, it took three attempts by Telstra to finally have our line working again. Of course this meant that each time we had to go through a whole lot of rigmarole with Telstra to get them come out.

In total, we were without a phone line for over two and a half weeks even though we had the life threatening illness medical priority on the repairs.

We have been through similar experiences here a number of times. The last time, according to the visiting tech, it was because there was a lightning strike some kilometers away on the line, and our copper phone lines are so degraded that the surge wiped out a section of line near us.

When I measure the line with our modem, it shows that the signal to noise ratio is unacceptably bad. Yet, according to Telstra, the quality of our line is ‘completely normal’. I don’t blame the individuals, I think there is and always has been a serious problem with Telstra’s management culture, and the alternate universe they live in.

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@phb

Also remember you may be entitled to the Telecommunications Customer Service Guarantee, see here for details:

http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/customer-service-guarantee-for-phone-users-faqs

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If Telstra gives you a credit “toward your mobile” or anything similar to that statement, it apparently cancels the CSG liability as it is deemed “they are providing the service” [by alternative means]. I had a $400 CSG claim knocked back because my telco provided a $45 mobile credit and my mobile coverage is reliable, being in a metro area. Perhaps one could prevail claiming the credit is irrelevant re the CSG, but at what effort?

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Surely it can’t really invalidate the CSG liability if they don’t tell you that when they offer the credit. I mean, I know no one wants to bother going to court or the ombudsman or anything - but I would have thought important fine print that like would have to be disclosed, or it wouldn’t be enforceable. I got offered a mobile credit recently because Telstra completely stuffed up a very simple house move and we were without internet for 3 weeks - there was no mention of waiving anything (I didn’t take the mobile credit for the record, as not everyone in the house has a Telstra mobile so it didn’t help us.)

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Here are the salient lines from the ACMA FAQ page:

Is my phone company required to inform me about the Customer Service Guarantee?

Phone companies are required to provide information to customers about their obligations and the customer’s entitlements under the CSG Standard as soon as possible after connecting the customer to a CSG service. They must also provide this information to customers at least once every two years.

Where a phone company is aware that it has relied on, or is likely to rely on, an exemption from compliance with the CSG Standard in relation to connection or repair activities, it must inform the customer.

Can I waive my rights under the Customer Service Guarantee?

Provided certain safeguards are met, customers are able to waive their rights under the CSG Standard. This has been made possible to ensure that customers are not restricted in the choices they make. For example, your phone company may offer cheaper prices for a phone service if you are prepared to waive some or all of your rights to compensation under the CSG Standard.

What is an interim or alternative phone service?

An interim or alternative phone service is one that provides a customer with either a service for voice calls or access to a phone service.

An example of an interim service is a mobile phone service provided at standard phone rates to replace a standard phone service. An example of an alternative service is a call diversion service to a mobile phone or a second phone service.

Am I still eligible for a Customer Service Guarantee payment if I accept or refuse my phone company’s offer of an interim or alternative service?

The CSG Standard does not apply where your phone company makes you a reasonable offer to supply you with an interim or alternative service and you accept or refuse that service. However, the phone company must supply you with sufficient information about the functionality and terms and conditions of supply of the services on offer to enable you to make an informed decision.

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Hmmm thanks The BBG - most helpful.

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You are very welcome.

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I have been experiencing the same problems with my NBN connection - I am on my third modem and have been unplugging and replugging to no avail. I cannot get Ethernet 4 which is what my original connection was and now my network says I am connected to Telstra Broadband??? I don’t think so - there is no broadband connection - I am now connected to Telstra WiFi and have to keep “connecting” many times during the day.
I have experienced quite a few Telstra technies too Vin, Jordan, etc with their promises to call me back if I need them - if they talk too quickly you miss half of what they say. Someone will come around to my house to have a look for a fee of $240 and I pay $120 for my phone and “broadband” a month already. The time wasted sitting on the phone - I could go on and on. What do I do with these modems sitting around? Any suggestions?
Marisue

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Exactly the same with us but after two weeks when “our” technician finally came and declared it was Telstra not us and I rang Telstra again … guess what!!! with out unplugging etc they instantly declared it was their fault and some one would come out. Tis was fairly quickly but that was after a long time with no phone. Poor service really.

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Ethernet 4 is just the name your windows/mac o/s/linux allocates to the connection that has been created. I am using VPNs for many of my connections and go through a lot of countries so my latest is Network 6 (it has been as high as 141 but then I cull the unused/old connection names), my normal non VPN is called Ethernet 2, you can cull the old network names by cutting them out of the registry (not a task I recommend for non techs). There is no reason to cull the old names but some people like to de-clutter the registry.

The reason your system says you are connected to Telstra Broadband is because you are using Telstra as your provider/reseller of the NBN and you use their infrastructure to connect to the internet. The NBN provides the connection from your home to Telstra’s network. So their modem calls it Telstra Broadband.

However you connect to the network/internet either Wifi or wired it is still called broadband as it is an “always on” connection as opposed to a “dail up” connection.

I don’t understand what you mean of your trouble of re-connecting many times through the day? Do you mean you have to re-connect your PC/Laptop/Phone/Tablet or do you mean you have to restart your modem many times.

If it is the modem that you have to keep restarting that is probably a hardware fault with the modem or your NBN connection or the settings in the modem are not set correctly and this probably does require a tech visit.

If you mean you have to reconnect your PC/Laptop/Phone/Tablet /s then this is more likely a setting in whichever device you are using or it is the reception you are getting via Wifi. If you can clarify which problem it is I am sure someone here can give you more advice of what to check and do.

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Thank you grahroll for answering my entry - I will try to answer your questions. You are obviously very experienced in such things as connecting to the Internet, modems, VPN’s etc. I am certainly not. I live in a semi rural part of Qld about 80 kms west of Brisbane. My problems started in late December when we had an enormous electrical storm. I had been connected to NBN for about three months and because the storms out this way are quite fierce I turned my modem and the telephones off. When I turned the modem off after the storm had passed I did not have a connection, phone or laptop. Telstra arranged to have all my telephone calls redirected through my mobile phone. I discovered that I could connect to WiFi through my portable prepaid Telstra wifi toggle so I connected that up and I had Internet. Telstra sent me another modem and a Tech came out to install it for me in the house. I forgot to tell him that I had had my phone calls redirected through my mobile and so he thought everything was AOK and off he went. However, I had to tell Telstra that I was connected and they could stop the redirection. Then I lost my connection called Ethernet 4 (I could see this in my Network and Sharing screen). That is where we have been since January and I have been able to connect to Wifi via the modem but not Broadband. The wifi signal comes and goes and I have to keep checking/connecting when it falls out. After many complaints with NBN and allowing “remote access” into my computer NO ONE TECH has been able to “find” me a connection to broadband other than wifi.
When I say I have to reconnect many times through the day I mean restarting the wifi because it has dropped out. I do this via the little icon at the bottom of my screen. I have a laptop - I do not have a tablet or an iPhone. My mobile is Android. The NBN Techs on the phone and I have spoken to many have asked me to disconnect my modem - turn it off - restart it by inserting a little pin in the little hole in the side, change the Ethernet cable, change the plug where it goes into the modem etc etc. Then I was sent another modem and still the same problems. Maybe it is my computer - I tried to do a print screen to send you the message I get from my network and sharing centre but apparently my Dropbox is full and it cannot take another file.
I agree with you it is probably a setting in my device - if I could clarify which problem it is with my computer I would be so happy. I am loathe to click any buttons in the control panel and the device manager for fear of making it worse. Here is hoping this letter to you is self explanatory of my PROBLEM. Cheers.

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Thank you Grahroll for your very detailed instructions. I will have time later this afternoon to sit quietly and follow all your step by steps to hopefully FIX my problems with the NBN Internet. Many thanks once again.

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HI Marisue,

Have the techies suggested changing the wifi “channel” on your modem? This can sometimes resolve the problems of dropouts and constant reconnection problems. You can change it quite easily once logging onto your modem - the techies should instruct you how to do this or you can call the modem manufacturer call centre and asks how as well.

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I might be wrong and apologise to @msanderson08 profusely if I am, but I suspect you could have the following scenario going:

  1. [quote=“msanderson08, post:15, topic:13399”]
    When I turned the modem off after the storm had passed I did not have a connection, phone or laptop
    [/quote]

I suspect you meant “modem on after the storm passed”. Regardless the NBN connection is not working

Terminology can be everything in the technical world. You state you have a portable prepaid Telstra wifi toggle that I am guessing is a wireless mobile internet service dongle that might be a wifi hub or a USB dongle, and you are referencing the wireless dongle as being wifi thinking that is related to the NBN. [quote=“msanderson08, post:15, topic:13399”]
The wifi signal comes and goes and I have to keep checking/connecting when it falls out
[/quote]

Mobile signals often fade in and out in many locations and internet dongles routinely need to be reconnected to the service, so that could support my suspicion.

  1. I interpret that you can use the internet via your prepaid Telstra wireless dongle service (eg mobile internet service), but not through the NBN, and the two services may have become confused as being one. If the techies are hearing you can connect from your computer by wifi, they might expect you can connect to the NBN modem and are getting internet service that way. So they are focused on an unintended furphy.

Does it sound like what is happening? To be sure, turn your NBN modem off and use your prepaid Telstra dongle and you should have internet, even if unreliable. If that is the case when you next talk to the techies trying to help, tell them you do not have NBN services but you can connect to internet by your prepaid Telstra wireless mobile dongle, so it is unlikely a problem with your computer.

Is that it, maybe?

Hi TheBBG
I am sorry if my entries in “Feeling Disconnected Telstra trouble” have confused you. I will try to answer your questions:-

  1. I did mean when I turned the modem off before the storm and turned on after the storm had passed I did not have a connection. NO lights on the modem, no phone, no internet. I phoned Telstra and they suggested they divert all incoming calls through my mobile phone. That went on for a week. I had work to do on my computer so I connected to my Telstra Mobile Broadband dongle. I turned its little lights on and I was able to see the wifi dongle connection on my computer. It is not a USB connection - it is like a little white mobile phone and I sit it next to my laptop. I only use this dongle when I go away and I want to turn on my laptop and not use the motel connections.
  2. I am not used to all the Terminology you say is everything in the technical world. I do my best. When you receive your NBN modem, in the package with all the cords and instructions, there is a little magnet card with the Telstra WiFi details and one is able to enter that into the laptop along with a password. So that stays connected to the computer whilst I am sitting next to the Modem. It does drop out from time to time and I just have to go to the icon and reconnect. I live in a semi rural part of Queensland and people often complain that their wifi drops out from time to time. I have not confused the Telstra Techs into thinking I am using the dongle and the NBN modem at the same time.
  3. If I turn off my NBN Modem and use my prepaid Telstra dongle I lose my phone connection. What is the point of that when I have NBN Wifi connection? Just not the broadband that I had before the storm. As I said I am now on my third modem sent to me by NBN and I am no further advanced. There is something in my device manager and my network sharing connections that an experienced tech would be able to see. As you said it could be my computer. I will let you know.
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But I suggested [quote=“TheBBG, post:18, topic:13399”]
you can connect to internet by your prepaid Telstra wireless mobile dongle, so it is unlikely a problem with your computer
[/quote]
so I trust you understand the confusion assessing what is happening at your location.

Hiya The BBG

I will remote into m’s computer on Saturday to see if I can see what’s going on. Hopefully it is just a setting or similar that can be fixed remotely. I will let you know how it goes.

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You’re a legend @grahroll :slight_smile:

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