After the Tornado: How did Telecom help (and not help) to get my Internet back

, posted: 10-Dec-2012 09:49

Houses in my street in Hobsonville lost their Internet on Thursday afternoon. I got it back yesterday after three days. I thought I will do a quick post about my experience with Telecom (bad and good).

- Telecom network status never acknowledged an outage. Every time you click on the number to get an broadband status, you get a message, "There are no known problems with the network". It would have been useful to have a message about the problem and an ETA of how long it is likely to be down so that people can mitigate against it.

- Broadband helpdesk is shocking at how they respond to a call. I guess some people cant deviate away from the set call centre script and use common sense to deal with a difficult situation. I had families from all over the world trying to email us to see if we were OK after the tornado hit our area - but the members of our family had no way to respond [I was the only one with mobile Internet and I was away most of the weekend].

- Ringing Faults and ringing 123 always ended up in being put back to the shocking Broadband helpdesk - more on that later. Ringing up customer service and telling them I need some compensation / temporary solution to get my Internet back (as I work from home) got no sympathy. I was told that it was a natural disaster and I just have to wait for it to be fixed. I said the Internet went down 3 hours after the tornado - but she just put me through to the shocking broadband helpdesk!!

And as for the Broadband Helpdesk, I guess the problem with housing your first line help desk in the Philippines (or any foreign country) is that the person answering the call is not not tuned into the mood of the county. They have no knowledge of any storm / mini natural disaster / panic. A simple question like, "Can you please tell me when the broadband connection at Hobsonville will be back. It went down just after the storm" get a response like, "Do you mean your dial up connection in intermittent?, which lights are flashing on your modem?"

On a positive side
When I got sick of not getting anywhere after three days of down time and talking to the same helpdesk that religiously followed the same script, I asked to be put through to the Complex Internet team at Telecom. I was not expecting much given it was Sunday - but...

  • The difference in user experience was like chalk and cheese. The very friendly girl ( I think her name was Makayla) explained the problem in plain English. She empathised with my pain and dealing with the tornado  and apologised for the down time. She had no problems giving more technical explanation when asked for  (something about how the Whenuapai exchange lost power on Thursday, and the power company restored power at 7:30PM - but when the power was restored they had issues with DSLAM and one of the cards (which my DSL line connects to). The card did not come back online properly ... upon power restore). Why could n't the broadband helpdesk tell me anything like this?
  • She contacted the technician team fixing the problem while I waited and quickly came back to me and told me the status of the issue (that they have restored the DSL line but my Internet is still down) - unlike the Broadband helpdesk guy who promised to call me back when he finds out from level 2 and never bothered to on Thurs / Fri / Sat!
  • She remotely reset my modem - Unlike the Broadband helpdesk guy who told me to go and find my modem (which was was sitting in the loft) and make me unplug the modem and count to 30 seconds and plug it back on and watch the lights and tell him what I see!!
  • She remotely monitored the modem status upon reset - Unlike the Broadband helpdesk guy who told me to go and to watch it for 5 minutes and tell him which lights were coming back on and which order!!
  • Most importantly she fixed my Internet by doing a port reset on the DSLAM card! 

If you are one of the 1,000 or so people in Hobsonville and Whenuapai still waiting for Telecom to restore your broadband - I hope you get your connection back ASAP.

Other related posts:
Thank you, Paper Plus Parnell - the most honest shop I know
New iPhone announced - but Not for preorder in New Zealand until 28th October
Creating the ultimate chill-out room for a geek

Comment by johnr, on 10-Dec-2012 11:12

Chorus is doing the repair work not Telecom!

Comment by networkn, on 10-Dec-2012 11:38

Xtra have long long long been guilty of poor updates on their status pages, it's been raised with them dozens of times. Helpdesk is terrible, we always try for CTS.

Author's note by BlueToothKiwi, on 10-Dec-2012 12:35

Thanks JohnR - I stand corrected re Chrous

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BlueToothKiwi's profile

New Zealand

I am a project manager / consultant that specialises in implementing cloud computing and Customer Relationship Management Systems. I also develop applications and especially interested in Smart tablet interfaces and Clouds.

I live in Auckland with my partner and four children. For fun, I am into robotics - My children and I spend a lot of time building robots with LEGO MINDSTORMS. I am also one of the 30 people from around the world selected by LEGO as an MCP (Mindstorms Community Partner).

My other interests include mobile devices and mountain-biking.