06 March, 2007

Telstra NextG Broadband Problems

It’s a pity that the only way to get broadband in my Brisbane suburb is by 3G wireless from Telstra. I say that because the Telstra service is two or three times as expensive as an ADSL (1) equivalent and has several other major disadvantages. These include:
  • Extremely low download limits. The package I have has a 1 gigabyte limit and costs as much as a 20 gigabyte ADSL package. The biggest package they offer is 3 GB and costs about $150 per month! That means if you wanted to download films or TV shows, you would almost instantly exceed your limit.
  • Very low speeds. The package I have is the fastest they offer and it is alleged to ‘average’ between 500 Kbps and 1.5 mbps. I have never had a connection that runs faster than 500 Mbps and it often runs slower. Today, for example, I am getting just over 250 Kbps – at 10am on a Tuesday with ‘excellent’ signal strength, you would think that Telstra could do a lot better than this.
  • Badly-written software. My Telstra Connection Manager (CM) software crashes about twice a day. It used to bring down my whole operating system with it but I discovered that this was an incompatibility with my graphics card driver. I downloaded and installed a new driver (41.5 Mb of download allowance used up just for this) and now the CM only crashes itself. Even the CM installer package is dodgy, installing all kinds of programs it shouldn’t which then have to be deleted by hand!
  • Incompatibilities with common software I have installed. It is hard to believe but the Telstra software does not work with Norton Anti-Virus (NAV). I actually broke out laughing when the Telstra ‘technical support’ drone told me this. As a result, I could not send emails because the NAV outgoing email scan was failing. I’ve disabled this in NAV now and my email works again but not properly. I still have problems because the Telstra software doesn’t work with Outlook 2003 either! Apparently, it is only guaranteed to work with Outlook Express.
  • Minimal modem functionality. Telstra only supplies one kind of modem and it is a very simple affair (and very expensive for what it is). What I actually want is a modem and wireless router unit so I can have other computers in my home connected to the Internet too. Modem/routers like this are available off-the-shelf from several manufacturers for ADSL but not for the Telstra 3G network.
  • Having to deal with Big Pond. Big Pond is the Telstra ISP that provides the broadband service. I have now spent many hours working through my many problems with seven different Big Pond ‘technical support’ drones. Some of these were absolutely useless. The rest were mostly useless. Between them all, I managed to identify one or two causes of my problems and fix them (about as many as I identified for myself and fixed). As for the remaining issues, they ‘escalated’ the problem 8 days ago and I have yet to hear anything more from them.
I could go on but you get the picture. I am paying almost $1,000 a year for this rubbish and you can imagine how much I resent it. If there was another supplier of broadband to this suburb, I would switch like a shot! Why isn't the government doing anything?


Anonymous said...

Nice comments there, well i guess you are not alone, you really need fixed line ADSL solution as whatever they say, they cant compare "radio" broadband with ADSL. For bigpond connection manager problem, i would only suggest using windows DUN as it solves lots and lots of problem and surprise surprise.... you get good download speed as well.. and yea... my outlook and VPN client works if i use windows DUN.... and yea.. govt cant do anything because they cant do anything :)

graywave said...

Thanks for the tip, Anon.

I'll look into using Windows DUN. If the blogs stop happening, you'll know it made things worse


Peter said...


I just moved to Karana Downs and I have discovered that there are not too many options for broadband. I am too far (and my copper wire gauge is too small) from the exchange in mt. Crosby to get ADSL and there is no cable.

Unfortunately the 3 network does not cover Karana Downs yet (although they are getting close) which is unfortunate because their plans (speed, price and technology) is superior to Telstra. So there are only two oprions left:

- Clearchannel satelite, 89 dollars 3 Gig if we qualify)
- Telstra 3G $79 for 1G high speed

I suppose if and when the mt Crosby exchange is upgraded to ADSL2+ I can attempt to apply again since ADSL2 seems to have a (very) slight increase in the possible distance from the exchange.

Please let us all know how the 3G thing works out for you.



graywave said...

Peter, you can, of course, get a satellite service in Karana Downs but not at the price you mentioned. Last time I looked there is no subsidy at all. Karana Downs is considered a 'metropolitan area' so it doesn't qalify.

As for how I'm getting on with NextG, well all I can say is I hate Telstra a little more with every day that passes. Their software is a joke, quite frankly, and causes me problems every single day.

I hope another supplier has me covered by the time my current Big Pondscum contract is finished.

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