CHOICE membership

Warning: Vocus Group who own Dodo & Club Telco attempting to bully ADSL clients to move to Dodo NBN

A warning to other user who may be affected. I received the notice by email yesterday (6 November) informing me that the ADSL service will be cut off by my ISP in ABOUT A MONTH. I think this is too a short notice period. Given that the NBN was only just switched on and I have until 1 October 2020 before the ADSL line is switched off, this is rather a surprise.

Now I will have to make some rather hastey decisions about selecting a provider; and whether I want to buy my own modem/router or not; whether I want VOIP or not; and if want to provide my own equipment - what to buy; or should I just get what the selected provider sends out.

It feels very rushed.

I have read good things on here about Aussie Broadband, so they are at the top of my list at the moment, but I just don’t know whether or not to buy my own, and is so what.

Any comment?

THE LETTER:
"We want to let you know about some changes to ClubTelco. Vocus Group, who own ClubTelco, has decided to stop providing telecommunications services through ClubTelco. As a result, ClubTelco will cease providing your service on 09 December, 2019. You’ll need to switch your ADSL service to the NBN to keep your phone and internet services connected.

What do I need to do?

You’ll need to switch to a nbn™ plan to keep your phone and internet services connected.

As you are living in a nbn™ ready area, you are now ready to connect to the nbn™ which means that your ADSL service will be disconnected in your area. So you can keep connected, you need to sign up to an nbn™ plan with a NBN provider.

We’ll give you a call soon to discuss your options. To help us ensure we’re able to contact you, please check we have your details correct and call us on 13 83 52 between 10am – 7pm AEST, Monday - Friday if they need updating."

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Curious if not alarming.

Not quite the same but on a similar vain.
Earlier today I had a long call from our ISP offering to sign us up to the NBN. Well, to a precommitment anyway!

I was told I could have a new plan, 6 times faster data at 50Mbps, and unlimited data, all for $60 per month less than our current ADSL service. The rep did indicate we would also be at the front of the que when our NBN service became available on 31st Jan 2020.

Sounds great! We are in the Glass House Mountains region on a rural block. Some interrogation, sorry polite chat later, the rep looked up the service type. I had expressed some scepticism that we were going to get a service at all. The first surprise for the rep. He said we would have their wonderful Fixed Wireless service with average down load speeds of 48Mbps.

It seemed worth persisting, knowing we do not have line of sight to the FW tower from our roof top, to understand the process. A discussion I had with the NBN some 12 months prior suggested there is no guarantee of service, or perhaps even likely in our location?

In working through the details of the iiNet offer, I went to their web site guided by the rep on the phone. Two additional facts were soon apparent. Firstly there was no 50Mbps FW plan available. Only 25Mbps or slower. Secondly we would need to pay another $20pm to get the full phone service reducing the saving. It seemed good, but perhaps less so.

The rep keen to do the deal struggled with the next question. What if, when the NBN come to do the FW site assessment we fail to receive a service? The quick answer was the NBN has to provide a service. Understood, was my quick answer followed by some agitation and a comment that there is no way we would give up our perfectly good ADSL2 service for an NBN satellite alternative.

While I thought that would be the end, it seemed from the reps view point there was no option other than to sign onto the NBN. It all fell apart when I asked if iiNet could provide a guarantee on what might follow if I signed onto the NBN with a precommitment to the FW, and it could not be delivered. I asked to have a guarantee that we could keep the existing working ADSL service. It would seem the rep believes that once you sign on to the NBN, if the FW is not available, the problem transfers to the NBN to provide internet to us. IE farewell to iiNet as they will not be supporting ADSL In any service areas where the NBN is available. Hello little modem in outer space. :roll_eyes:

P.S.
It’s worth considering the NBN Co needs to get another 2.6million connected premises/customers to come to the network (activations) within a little over 18 months time. (Approx 50% increase) That’s necessary to meet it’s revenue targets, projected longer term EBITDA and IRR. Oh, and to have sufficient cashflow not to need to borrow more money to stay under the $51B CAPEX spend, and to stay in business!

It not only desperately needs to hit its connected customer targets, the NBN Co also needs to lift revenue per connected premise (ARPU) from $44 per month to $49 over the current 4 years to 2023. Total revenue for FY2019 just gone was $2.8B is required to nearly double to $4.9B over the next two years. IE expect to pay more for NBN internet over the next few years. Possibly on the pretext of more data you can’t use or more speed, you need to pay to upgrade to get.

Feel the need for something to read at bedtime, and dream a different future for the nation.

https://www.nbnco.com.au/content/dam/nbnco2/2019/documents/media-centre/corporate-plan-report-2020-2023.pdf

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I agree - I’d be talking to the TIO. What if you happened to be away from home for any reason?

As a secondary consideration, this is where using ISP email is a bad thing - good to go with a third party (you may already do) so you can switch quickly, which brings me to another point - I’d be seriously considering whether to re-sign with them. In parallel with the TIO I’d be talking to other providers.

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A few things came to mind

  1. They “Club Telco” are ceasing to supply Telecommunications services even thought the parent company may be continuing to do so. This may not be something the TIO will be able to manage to resolve for you to remain on ADSL for a longer period. You might be able to seek some compensation for the inconvenience, but I suspect the service will cease regardless.

  2. Some of the nbn™ technologies used (FTTC and FTTB) use the lines you currently have providing your ADSL service to supply the nbn™ connection. In these cases rapid switchover or cutoff can and does occur. HFC does a similar thing to Cable internet but this obviously doesn’t affect copper telecom connections. So if you are getting FTTC or are in a building that is going to be supplied by FTTB you may have very rapid switchover. This I take is not your situation.

  3. If you change provider to try to maintain ADSL (as your old provider is ceasing to act as a Telecommunications provider) this will also most likely fail as the nbn™ rules stop most users from obtaining a new ADSL service once an area is nbn™ ready. There is some leeway these days for ADSL users to maintain their ADSL connection if the nbn™ service they would receive is inferior to the ADSL service they get (mostly for FW and Satellite potential customers).

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Their support is excellent. Their service is NBN as are all the other RSPs. Their speeds are ordinary in comparison with others, and their monthly cost for what is offered is $10 pcm on the high side as I see it since some throw in ‘entertainment’ and others throw in VOIP calls if either is important to you.

There is nothing I find compelling from ABB except I signed up with them and am not inclined to switch, yet. If and when entertainment bubbles up, I might look around. NBN maintenance is usually overnight but the latest NBN notice is for a ‘240 minute’ outage in a 6 hour window with the admonition to have a fully charged mobile, blah blah.

Note that if you want VOIP some RSPs require you to use their modem/router and some accept BYOs. That was one of my criteria for picking ABB although by many reviews the RSP supplied modems are fine for most of us - they fall down for those with serious in-home wi-fi needs and sometimes gamers where every nanosecond matters.

Also, download speed is not everything. Check the Nov ACCC report and a metric is download/upload speed and another is web page time to load (wrought with how many variables?) where there is not always the same pecking order.

As for the circumstances you find yourself in, nothing I could ad to the sage commentary above.

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Thank you good suggestion.

I agree. I have never used ISP’s email addresses; always either our own website addresses, or more recently third party as you suggest.

@TheBBG - Thank you for your feedback. Any suggestions for a better RSP?

A Telstra tech told me we are 1.1km from the exchange by wire route when I complained about the poor (absolute rubbish) specs on our copper line. Our line rates at the bottom end of substandard signal to noise ratio, but Telstra in their infinite wisdom rate the line as completely acceptable.

We average 7Mb/s dowload and 0.7Mb/s upload. The absolute best we have ever achieved on one bright sunshiny day in June 2018 was 11.81Mb/s download (and 0.88 upload).

So, while I am not hung up on speed, I am looking forward to a half decent download speed. :slight_smile:

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The other anomoly I didn’t point out was that we were advised by NBN Co that the NBN was working on the 15th of August 2019.

According to the NBN CoThe disconnection date for the old phone and internet network in this area has not been confirmed yet.

WhistleOut (that I was referred to by Choice to see NBN providers at my address) gave the 1 October 2020 date. If this is correct, then that is only 14 months, not 18 months.

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I think the better answer for disconnection date is the NBN Co one. If a date had been set this would be reflected on their site. I think the WhistleOut one may be an estimation.

Sadly neither of these matter in your particular case. It isn’t the nbn™ cutoff that is causing your problem, it is the discontinuation of a provision of telecommunications by a business. They are ceasing to provide that service to anyone. They are providing you with a warning that the ClubTelco will cease telecommunications services so your ADSL service will no longer exist rather than you are being cutoff due to the nbn™ being in your area. Whether this is true or not you will need to check if indeed ClubTelco is “shutting down” and indeed on their pages they do advise they no longer provide these services:

http://www.clubtelco.com/about_clubtelco.html

On this page it quite clearly states “ClubTelco no longer sells ADSL, NBN, Home Phone or Mobile services. However, our sister company, Dodo, have some great plans.”

Reality is you are without much/any hope of getting anything as an ADSL service and the only hope you may have is that you may be able to negotiate some compensation for the small timeframe of notice. A chat with them first may elicit some outcome re compo and then if this fails a visit to TIO may work. Nothing is certain as they have given what may be considered sufficient notice sadly.

As for nbn™ providers, we use TPG, some of our family use Optus, some Telstra, some Exetel and a small smattering of others. All of us suffer to some degree some variation day to day of our services (peak time speeds are very much an issue for most nbn™ users everyday). nbn™ is pretty generic in what you get with CVC provision by RSPs as perhaps the feature that matters most between the providers. Using both the ACCC and the Honesty Box data it would seem not much is different between larger players. So I think it comes down to

  1. What type of connection you are getting eg FTTC, FTTN, HFC and so on?
  2. Knowing this you can guesstimate the probable max and likely achievable speeds you will get
  3. How many devices do you want to have connected & how many people in the household are going to be using them at any one time?
  4. Do you want VOIP or not or you don’t care either way? (Really most plans have VOIP bundled but a rare some don’t)
  5. All the above will determine Speeds you will likely get eg FTTP 100 Mbps FTTN likely 50 Mbps or so, Speeds you would prefer (if possible), Bandwidth size eg 500 GB, Unlimited (well subject to fair use).
  6. Major RSPs likely very similar provision with some additions making for some users who their preferred supplier is eg Entertainment inclusions. Prices are pretty much within $20-$30 of each other for similar packages.
  7. Smaller RSPs may charge more but if needed may provide better Tech support (not generally required but may be important factor).
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Apologies for rambling.

ABB seems to be the class act for support. They are good at it. But considering their offer it comes at a modest premium and how often does one need help? Some view it like insurance and have comfort it is there and have no problem paying a bit more just in case; others look to value for money.

Moving on to answer your question, you would not go wrong with ABB but have a look at Canstar. Canstar seems as much a popularity contest or a ‘super product review’ rather than a test and comparison site, but worth a look. An easy anomaly to call out regarding their rigour is that the ACCC report shows ABB lagging the best in class speeds and good but not top reliability, while Canstar has ABB at 5 stars for ‘speed and reliability’ so I take the Canstar as subjective not objective but still an interesting data point.

Whoever you go with, getting an NBN tech scheduled to your premises could be weeks to months so do not delay. You might need to go with another ADSL plan provided by a company who will then migrate you to their NBN offerings; if not make sure you have a month-to-month ADSL plan.

I would stay away from the Vocus RSPs (Dodo and iPrimus). They have poor performance (ref the ACCC report) and support is multi-tier multi-company with the tiers isolated from each other by email-only communications, at least that is how it was a year or two ago). My ADSL experience with iPrimus (2002-2019) started as tolerable, rose to very good for many years, but soon after Vocus took over they seemed to nose dive. Note the table between internode and TPG seems a dead heat so there are performance groups rather than a league table.

iinet has a PAYG VOIP and entertainment pack for $75 on NBN 50. Some BYO modems work with their VOIP but they make no guarantees. If it doesn’t too bad buy theirs.

TPG does not have any ‘entertainment offer’ but is $10 pcm less than the others for an otherwise similar plan; support has been questionable but a family member with them has had a good experience, sample of 1 :wink:

Internode is clear - they refuse to provide VOIP for BYO modems.

I personally would check out TPG and iiNet, and if you are not fussed about buying their modem, internode has a discount intro package on offer.

There is a small company (trading as both Mate and Barefoot telecom) that might be promising and shows well on productreview, apparently well under the radar for size but worth looking at because no contract required and they are happy with BYO modems.

The (relatively) good news is if you get something and are not happy, you can move on in future. Good luck!

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I went for a different model for security reasons. There have been way too many instances world-wide in which routers configured by service providers have major security flaws. We decided to dump the home phone.

Great sales pitch: you’re dumped, but my sister’s available.

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I’ve used byo modem and byo VoIP with Internode for years … just not Internode VoIP which to me wasn’t compelling price wise - the Whirlpool deal on MyNetFone has worked well for me …

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A chart topper in 1975 that went on to become the underpinning of so many Australian businesses dealing with customers.

Fortunately over time more and more feedback reflected this one, that only made it to #34.

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Where on earth did you find that one.

I have never heard it despite hearing The Newcastle Sond a squillion times.

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Guess where I lived in 1975 :laughing:

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USA or Newcastle?

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Yes!

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Are you proud of what you have done to so many innocent (well, sorta) ears?

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UPDATE:
I finally got through to someone who identified themselves as a supervisor for Vocus Group (sounded like a Phillipino call centre).

He kept talking about my ADSL being cut off in a month, and I kept asking why Vocus would cut me off. Eventually admitted Vocus will not be cutting me off, but then switched to saying my access to the existing copper line will be cut off by my telephone service provdier Telstra. To this I replied that Telstra will not cut me off because I had 18 months from August to move to NBN. He then told me that Telstra could cut me off at any time. I denied this and repeated I had 18 months. More talk from him about being cut off with the retort from me that I won’t be because I had 18 months.

After some more to and fro it became clear to me this was nothing but misleading, deceptive, and bullying tactics to get people to rush to Dodo’s NBN.

The supervisor finally said he would note on my file not to cut me off. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I would be extremely surprised if this was an isolated case, so Vocus Group ADSL clients be warned. Do not get sucked in to their heavy handed sales tactics.

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Sounds like something the ACCC is likely to want to hear about (and probably already has).

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I get this one about 3 times a week, here name is Nicole and I know her well. Always cutting off my internet and phone because the NBN is coming. I have had the NBN for several years.