on the edge

computers & technology, books & writing, civilisation & society, cars & stuff

Greg Black

gjb at gbch dot net
Home page

If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.

FQE30 at Qld Raceway 25 May 2003


RSS Feed

Worthy organisations

Amnesty International Australia — global defenders of human rights

global defenders of human rights

Médecins Sans Frontières — help us save lives around the world

Médecins Sans Frontières - help us save lives around the world

Electronic Frontiers Australia — protecting and promoting on-line civil liberties in Australia

Electronic Frontiers Australia


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)

Software resources

GNU Emacs


The FreeBSD Project

Thu, 17 Jun 2004

How hard can it be?

About two months ago, one of my customers in Melbourne moved offices. On my advice, they had ordered new phone lines and a new ADSL setup several weeks in advance. When they arrived in the new office, the ADSL service was not ready. The ISP blamed the Telco; the Telco blamed Telstra; Telstra were unconcerned.

I told the customer that they should make the various suppliers focus on the new phone lines and possibly the ADSL provisioning at the exchange as everything else was the same—they turned things off, carried them across the street and turned them on again.

At my suggestion, they begged the suppliers of their “service” to send a technician to their premises where he would be able to see instantly that the problem was not of the customer’s making. All the “service providers” refused to provide this small service, even when offered money.

Only the ISP was actually willing to speak to the customer, although this did not extend to willingness to help. They did their own tests, which I suspect were entirely imaginary, and told the customer that the fault was in their ADSL modem and that they should purchase a new one. In despair, the customer did that. The new modem’s instructions were incomprehensible to the customer, so the device was sent to me in Brisbane. I set it up and verified that it did work with the ISP in question and returned it to Melbourne. It was installed there and immediately failed in the same way as the “faulty” modem.

The ISP then made them jump through several more hoops before finally agreeing that Telstra should check the line. Telstra said they would visit, but did not. Instead, they announced—after some weeks—that they had “re-provisioned” the service and that the customer should test it. Of course, it did not work. Eventually, after some heated talks, they agreed to send a technician out.

When the technician rang to make an appointment, he wanted to make the visit on a Saturday and was most unhappy that this was deemed impossible by the customer, on the perfectly valid grounds that the building is not open on Saturdays. They made an appointment for the following Tuesday. This was not met. After further followup, the technician arrived today (Thursday). He spent a few minutes on site and said, “Yes, there’s a fault. I’ll go back to the exchange and fix it.”

Soon after, he rang to say that they should try it again. So we turned things off and on and typed commands dictated laboriously over the phone and it all worked just fine and has been working for about eight hours now. If only they had listened to us in the beginning and sent out a technician to fix their broken service. And my customer has been paying the premium “Business ADSL” rate for two months while being restricted to a 28k modem. Wow, that was a great effort.