It will take 24 to 48 hours (part 2)…. the saga continues. My backup link no longer works. I need a backup to the backup link!

If you read my recent post you will understand my dilemma. If not, here’s a quick summary:

  • I moved to a new house. Needed internet. Started with ADSL2. Performance was seriously bad. Maximum speed was 4.22Mbps. The worst, 0.13 Mbps (when it was working). My max speed ranks 129th in the world averages, in between Libya and Algeria.
  • Found out Cable broadband was now available through Telstra in my area. Order was confirmed January 4th.
  • Cancelled my ADSL service as the Cable broadband connection was booked for 3 days later, and I have had very good experience previously getting cable connected.
  • Telstra cancelled the connection booking the day before due to the NBN database not having my address…..but why should that matter, I’m not getting NBN?
  • Order had been raised incorrectly by Telstra. Cancel and reload.
  • 3 modems were sent out (sequentially)…..none of them arrived. Two were returned to Telstra by the courier, I have no idea where the other one went, or even if it was actually shipped. This was due to Telstra’s inability to change the delivery address.
  • 2 months went by without any internet connection at all, 22 phone calls to Telstra, 3 visits to Telstra shops, and many, many hours of my time.
  • But I now have a modem. Luckily it is one of the new Smart modems with a backup 4G connection that is shaped (limited) to 6Mbps… I now have a 4G internet connection (part of my cable broadband account) whilst I wait for the Cable connection. My maximum internet speed has advanced to 122 in the world, in between Syria and Pakistan.
  • 3 more phone calls to Telstra and still no Cable broadband connection….. reasons were NBN/Cable outages, and issues connecting to the Telstra activation site.
  • 3 months have gone by……….

During the last few weeks Telstra called me: “We have a modem at the courier that we need to deliver. Where can we send it to?” ……but I had already picked one up from the Telstra shop. I wonder if 3 modems will magically be delivered?

Your now up to date. If you need all the details, check out my previous post:

“It will take 24 to 48 hours…. or was that 3 months, 25 phone calls and 3 visits to Telstra?”

But I still want a Cable Connection!

Tuesday March 27th : I called Telstra again as I really do want the Cable connection. Performance will be better, and I understand Telstra do not like people running on the 4G backup connection for too long. I’m told by the connections team “order has been automatically cancelled by the system”. Why? I ask. “Technical Glitch” they respond. “It sometimes happens”.

We discuss further. I’m not really sure that my order has been cancelled, but there is a problem with the MAC address of my Cable Adapter (Modem). It is not the same as Telstra have on their system. I need to be transferred to the Cable Connections team to resolve this. They can change the Mac address and activate the connection. After 1 hour 30 minutes on the phone, the issue is still not resolved. I need to go, so I say I will call back.

Tuesday April 3rd: I call back Telstra. On hold, waiting for 1 hour 20 minutes. I give the activation team my order number and they respond with “Sorry sir. Our system is down and we are not able to assist at the moment. Can I take your phone number and we will call you back”. I give them my phone number……but I have been told this on 3 previous calls……and they never do call back.

Wednesday April 4th : Telstra call me. Wow! I was pleasantly surprised…… However, it’s a coincidence. It’s not the Telstra connection team calling back (FYI, Telstra connections team did not call back). It is the Telstra Faults team who have called me. They are fixing a connection issue for someone else and found that the MAC address of the other customers modem is registered against me (now I know where one of the modems ended up). So whilst fixing their problem, Brett from the faults team thought he better call me to understand what’s going on. I explain the modem delivery issue (and my other issues). Brett took it on board to assist me as well.

He needed to check who owns the cables, and how we might fix this issue. He said he would call back……and he did 3 hours later. Explained NBN actually own the cables and he has raised the paperwork to have a Telstra person work on my cables so we can resolve the issue. It will take a few days to get approved. I am very appreciative of his assistance. First pro-active person who has been willing to help me.

My Smart Modem is no longer smart!

Friday April 6th : Very slow internet on the 4G modem backup connection tonight. I did a speed test. My internet is now running at between 0.05 Mbps and 0.2 Mbps on the 4G backup connection… I thought, maybe it’s a 4G problem?

Slow Telstra performance on 4G

I ran the same tests on my iPhone. Through my WiFi, my phone was same as above, maximum of 0.28Mbps. But if I use the native 4G in the iPhone, it gets to 52Mbps. These two tests are done within a few minutes of each other.


The only explanation I can think of is that Telstra are now shaping (limiting) my performance as I have been on the 4G backup connection for too long. It has been exactly 1 month since I installed the Smart modem. In the left graph above (WiFi using the 4G connection in modem), you can see the speed start higher in my phone and is shaped down to a lower speed. On the right graph (phone 4G), the speed starts lower and ramps up to what is available (52Mbps).

Saturday April 7th : I call Telstra support to try and get the 4G speed limiting taken off my backup connection on the modem. I explain the issue, they look at my records and apologize. “As I have an existing case manager for my Cable connection issue they cannot make any changes without checking with them. They operate Monday to Friday. Please call back on Monday”. I explain this is not good enough. Telstra have limited my speed (to be unusable) and I’m not going all weekend without internet. I need to stream AFL as my team’s game is not on free to air TV today, my son wants online gaming, and my daughter wants to watch Netflix (although it’s good that they are forced to do non screen activities for a while)…. my daughter can at least write her story on Quotev with 0.2 Mbps.

I ask to escalate. They do. I’m asked to go on hold again whilst they contact the complaints team. I say that’s fine….but I do think that the repetitive on-hold music is designed to get you to hang up and not wait.

1 hour, 7 minutes later we finally talk to someone in the complaints team. They decide to try and fix the cable connection. “There is an error with the MAC address” (which I already know), and we go through problem determination again….i.e. what lights are on, etc.  They find the same thing….. “we need to send someone onsite” (no surprise).

All they can offer me is additional data on any separate Telstra Mobile plan…..which is no use to me. I want the shaping/limiting taken off my modem backup connection. I don’t understand why this cannot be done.

Two further options are put to me:

  • “Go to a Telstra shop and they can replace the SIM in the modem” (it does not make sense to me…..but I agree to do it)
  • “If they cannot replace the SIM, get a 4G Wifi prepaid modem for free. I will document this is the INT number ….or if you need to purchase one, you will get a credit on your account”.

I go to a Telstra shop, but they are a Telstra franchise shop. They know where the SIM is in the modem, but not how to change it. They can sell me a 4G prepaid modem…..but not for free. I was recommended to go to an actual Telstra shop.

I go to a real Telstra shop (not a franchise). They don’t even know where the SIM is in the modem (I show them). They can sell me a 4G prepaid modem and are 99.99% sure I can get a credit on my account to the value of the 4G modem. I buy the 4G modem with 5GB data.

Telstra Complaints team call me back. I explain the progress. They can see a new prepaid 4G modem on my account. They put an additional 25GB of data for no charge on the account. They also credit my account for the value of the modem.

I get home, set up the 4G modem. Works good. Performance is good. I check the backup connection on the Smart modem. It is still limited to 0.28Mbps. I test my new backup of the backup link (new prepaid 4G modem), and it’s 30Mbps.Screen Shot 2018-04-07 at 3.57.08 pm

So I now have a connection again. Albeit temporary, the 30GB of data expires in one month….not that it will last that long. My Cable broadband plan has 1000GB.

I should be happy I guess…….but I spent almost 2 hours on the phone today, approximately 3 hours traveling 30km, to go to 2 different Telstra shops, waiting in line, and negotiating to get new a new SIM or 4G modem.

So I now need just two things….should be simple really:

  • A Cable broadband connection (there is a cable from the street and I have 2 foxtel sockets in my house)
  • My Smart modem backup connection fixed. It should be 6Mbps….. it is currently 0.2Mbps

It has now been 31 phone calls and 5 visits to 4 different Telstra shops…….. I look forward to some progress and more comic relief in the coming weeks.



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