In an era where fast broadband Internet is becoming widely accessible across not only OECD nations but also the developing world, the dismal state of Telstra’s ADSL broadband service right here in Canberra has become infuriatingly apparent through my experience with them in the past few weeks.
Having finished construction of our new home in the new suburb of Wells Station, Harrison, Telstra assured us that our Bigpond broadband connection would continue in our new home as the local, Crace exchange was ADSL enabled and connection ports were readily available. Telstra even delivered a package containing the necessary hardware. Yet only days later we received a text message rather severely stating that our application had been “rejected” – as though Telstra felt it needed to pass a judgement on my character. They didn’t bother to provide any further explanation.
The government, as well as Telstra, have touted the expansion of broadband countrywide yet when broadband isn’t even available in the developing suburbs of the nation’s capital, what hope is there for those in regional areas.
When we inquired further about our connection, Telstra customer service cheerily informed us that broadband was, in fact, available and that we would be connected shortly. Once again, days later, we were notified that this application was also “rejected”. Five times we have been subjected to this pretence. Talking to neighbours and others living in Gungahlin it became clear we were not the only victims of Telstra’s arrogant charades. We have tried several times to contact Telstra Countrywide (and Ian Peters, the Area General Manager) – the man whose image and number is plastered on every Telstra van roaming Canberra – and not a single call has yet been answered.
The worst part is that we have no choice – TransAct does not provide any services here and all other Internet providers have to go through Telstra’s exchange. Telstra’s monopoly of broadband is turning Australia into an Internet backwater, stifling innovation and trade. I sincerely believe it is the greatest obstacle facing Australia’s development in this modern, technology dependent era. Telstra, if you can’t even provide the most basic of services, get out of the way and let others do so.
Maybe if we can raise awareness of this issue, we can get Telstra to actually do something about this. I know, I know…but it’s worth a try.