Unfair Competition

Here’s a very interesting set of circumstances that highlights the absolute atrocity that is broadband internet provisioning in New Zealand. We are moving house in a couple of weeks time. I have booked the telephone line move with Telecom (NZ’s monopoly phone line provider), and then asked about shifting our ADSL connection. They told me to go and talk to our current ISP about it.

So I called our ISP (ihug) and spoke to a technician called Tim. He told me that ihug have to wait for the phone line to be moved before they can even request that the ADSL service is moved; after which time it could take up to two weeks to move the ADSL connection. I confirmed this with his supervisor (Guy). I told them this is not good enough, and that I would consider switching to a different ISP if they couldn’t sort this out. They didn’t seem to care (even though I’ve been with ihug for 8 years). In their defense, they say that it is the only option they have, because they can’t put additional requests on a phone line once one is already in the queue – in this case the phone line move.

So, next up I called xtra (Telecom’s own ISP) to ask if I join xtra whether they can provision ADSL on the same day. The answer (from Eva) was yes. If I switch to xtra prior to the move, then they will guarantee that the telephone and ADSL switch happens on the same day.

Now, is it just me, or is this an abuse of Telecom’s monopoly power? Why do they get the right to book both phone and ADSL move on the same day, while other ISP customers have to queue up like animals?

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14 Comments

  1. Dont Xtra also have the most expensive/least serviced ASDL option in the market?

    Or has that all changed now they’re about the have their plush finely woven rug pulled out from under them?

    Still. I think I’d trust Eva over Tim anyday. Particularly if she had a husky Russian telephone manner.

  2. Correct, xtra still have a crappy, low-capped, expensive option.

    Thankfully ihug have offered a month worth of credit, which goes part-way to covering the fricken $99 service charge from Telecom to move the ADSL.

    I love the mysticism behind the whole ‘telephone exchange’ garbage. It’s not very mystical when you imagine some tech shifting a cat5 cable from one port to another. For $99 dollars.

  3. I think you will find that CSR’s can issue a Service Order (these action changes on your account) for the move of broadband and ADSL all in one if you where with Xtra. How ever if ihug request a move this will be actioned with in a different Service Order (there are different Service Order Types for different Request), and as you can not run two orders on one line, they have to wait for the move to take place. It is important to understand that Telecom CSR’s can not move your ADSL if you have it with another provider, as this is Anti Competitive. It’s a limitation of the System, not Telecom removing anyone ‘rights’.

  4. So given it all involves the same thing (a tech going to the exchange to move a patch lead), then why is there not a “Move phone number and ihug ADSL” service type, and a “Move phone number and Orcon ADSL” service type etc?!

    Seems pretty trivial for that to be set up. Considering there must already be e.g. “Move ihug ADSL” service types, because Telecom techs have to do that.

  5. As a previous staff member of not only other ISP’s but having worked for both telecom and xtra. I can answer your question.

    Telecom opens a service order in there systems. A heavily out-dated system that runs single service orders at any one given time. These orders may, or may not attach themselves to the ‘line card’. If the order attaches itself to the ‘line card’ then other orders can not be run due to system restrictions. The moving of your phone line is a ‘line card’ restricted service order. For another ISP to add another order in there would also be attached to the same said line card. The fault here you will find, is not with your isp’s. And also it is not with the unfortunate CSR no doubt achieving the beating of a lifetime from yet another ( understandably ) irrate customer demanding that something be done. The bottom line is, the telecom system requires some form of update. However with the huge amount of data currently in the system this in itself is not economical.

    You may also not know that the techs that go out to the exchanges are not telecom employee’s. They are contracted by telecom. Many people get the idea that telecom is some sort of giant monstrosity devouring all its lesser competetors. In fact this has some truth and some lie. It simply provides a service by contracting many other services, and scrapping ( large ) profit off the top.

    Also, if you are interested in more information there are also 2 types of exchanges, of DSLAM and ASLAM of wich one is a newer creation than the other. I forget now wich is wich, but some require coils and ‘actual’ work to be done while others are simply attaching said ‘copper cable to different points’.

    All in all, any solid complaint should be carefully considered. From a customers point of view it is very easy to expect a lot from an ISP and, considering the general restrictions they face. Believe that it is them offering horrific service. However, its not always slow, actuallity has it that telecom is built up in layers.

    123 – Customer Service Front Line (grunts) – You at any one time may reach here. Regardless of if your with telecom or not. If you are with telecom, they are alowed access to telecom accounts only. All other ISP accounts are not accessable. And in a lot of occsions not even viewable.

    Behind Scene Teams – For other isp’s to contact. Often helpful to isp’s only.

    Behind The Scenes Ver. II – ( the guys that get things done ) The ‘behind the scenes’ team deals with these guys. And even these guys arent direct. In some situations they are other buisnesses contracted in to do specific jobs.

    Complex? Yes. Stupid? Yes. Whos fault? I for one, have no idea.

  6. Posted from inside ihug? Sweet 🙂

    But yeah I know everything you’ve outlined is true. I’m just hoping that by venting here we can add our tiny, insignificant voices to somehow getting this total clusterfuck sorted out.

  7. Well, we can only continue beating our heads against the great wall of – well – junk that gets force fed left right and center. Sooner or later the great wall has to crumble and I’m sure many ISP’s will jump on the situation. ^.^ Believe me.

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