NBN Redux

The Git has commented previously on Australia’s NBN. When he received a friendly letter from NBN Co on February 21, he was very mindful of people wishing to be connected to the NBN being told that they would have to wait even though they are in regions “serviced” by the company. Up to 12 months in some instances. Apparently, even when an area is declared as having NBN, there are insufficient connections available to provide for everyone, even though some of these hopefuls are told that they will be disconnected from the copper network in a few months.

So, The Git (never one to be hesitant) began investigating the list of potential ISPs who supposedly provide Internet access to the NBN in his locale. Interestingly, all but two of these providers told The Git that he did not have NBN access, so they were out of the running. That left IINet and EscapeNet (who?) as the only potential candidates. A long and friendly chat with a knowledgeable person at IINet had them out of the running. The offer was 25 GB/month for $AU40 at 12 Mb/s, somewhat slower than the Gitling’s ADSL2, but it’s all The Git can afford. This included unlimited Internet gaming and ABC iView, but The Git’s use of these services is fairly minimal.

EscapeNet on the other hand were offering 50GB/month, same speed, same price, a far more realistic offer. So, The Git signed up. On 25 February, the order was confirmed (that is we did have access to fixed wireless broadband as NBN Co claimed). Three days later an email from EscapeNet confirmed that installation would proceed on 6 March between 8 am and noon. Oddly, the email contained both The Git’s username and password in plain text! NBN Co telephoned the day before to confirm that The Git would be home at the agreed time.

Somewhat after 8 am the NBN sub-contractor turned up and installed the NBN-supplied equipment and it was all done and dusted by mid-day. Here’s the evidence:


That box to the right is the Network Termination Unit (NTU). It has four ethernet ports though routing between those ports is not a function of the $AU600 unit. The ports are for people who need access to four different ISPs. God only knows who they are. In Japan they supply one ethernet port ($AU15) and if you need more, you purchase a unit to do the required routing. You will notice that while there’s some Cat 5 cable running to the aerial connection wallsocket, there’s no cable running to the ISP-supplied WiFi router. That’s because it’s not there. Out of shot are the powerponts and ethernet port that runs back to the 9 outlet wallbox in the office.

Here’s the aerial connection on the other side of the wall:


The aerial lead-in needs to be tucked behind the corner flashing of The House of Steel. This entails The Git climbing a very tall ladder to remove the pop rivets, tucking the cable in and re-riveting the flashing. The wall is some 5 metres tall at this point and The Git has none-too-fond memories of the ladder slipping when building the house more than a decade ago. Fortunately, his friend who helped in that project will come by tomorrow to assist (aka as calling the ambulance should The Git fall). Shannon, the sub-contractor to the sub-contractor to the NBN Co said tucking the wire away was not part of what NBN Co provide. Nor was he equipped to do the job. His ladder was nowhere near long enough.

Here’s the aerial on the roof:


The Internet NBN router (a Netcomm NF5) wasn’t at the Post Office, so The Git telephoned EscapeNet who told him that “because NBN Co are too unreliable” they don’t send out the “modem” (a funny thing to call a router — it’s a bit like calling an MP3 player a “gramophone”) until the NBN installation has been confirmed. This didn’t rate a mention in the email confirming the installation date. EscapeNet said the “modem” would be at the Post Office today. It wasn’t. And I’m willing to bet a considerable sum of money it will take the usual 2–3 business days (usually 3) that “overnight” parcels take. If I’m lucky, it will arrive Tuesday, the day before The Git goes away on holiday to New Zealand to spend time with his daughter and grandchildren. Ordinary parcels take 3–4 days, usually 3, so mostly we don’t bother with “overnight” parcel rates.

In the meantime, The Git is contemplating reinstating his previous ISP since their ADSL service expires while The Git is away. Mrs Git does an awful lot of emailing and likely wouldn’t take kindly to losing service for several days. This will cost $AU50, not a huge sum in the scheme of things, but an annoyance nevertheless. And strictly speaking, totally unnecessary if EscapeNet actually knew what “unreliable” means. Turning up on the agreed date at the agreed time is reliable, not unreliable. Failing to provide the necessary equipment to utilise that unnecessarily expensive box with blinking lights is unreliable.


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