In 1995 IBM was my ISP. Any problems (there were few - the $5 per hour seemed cheap at the time) and a quick 0800 call to Ballarat, short discussion about Melbourne weather, and then the problem would be fixed. When Paradise grew from the heart of Wellington (as we expect in our lovely city), our calls were always answered by a tech person within three rings.
Of course Telstra purchased Paradise, and customer service started a determined battle to be worse than Xtra. Fortunately, a near-new network means there are relatively few faults.
It was April last year that Telstra allowed 'naked' broadband (starts at $50 pm, by the way). In July my partner and I decided to go with a VoIP service, and ditch the Telstra phone. I liked iTalk because of the flexibility they offer. Unfortunately, their customer service is even more flexible, different answer each time I ring, and it flexes in the wrong directions. Examples: CSR told me there was no 10 day return period (there is - I ended up using it); Their systems wouldn't accept my 4 digit Telstra customer nbr; They are only a 'call in' call centre, don't do call or emails out; Actually they do respond to emails, but it can take 1 to 4 weeks; email (and hence, voicemail) forwarding is broken on their cut down iTalk-only email portal; I don't think they were ever close being able to port my Telstra phone number; Took about two weeks to send me a courier bag to return my Grandstream ATA to them (I had returned it at my expense in the meantime); Refund took about three weeks after then acknowledged getting the Grandstream back. Throughout all this, the CSRs were always very positive and polite, and apologised for the problems I'd had.
Overall, the iTalk product seems to work, on a variety of SIP devices, with minor concerns about call quality, but you are on your own.
In the middle of all this, I ran into Mauricio, who said I should try VFX (and should write about my experience here). Sure enough, I purchased a PAP2T, plugged it in, and it was going next day. WorldxChange service is not perfect - lots of little hassles, and given that Maverick says they have five years of VoIP experience, it is unfortunately that many of their CSRs definitely don't know how the VFX systems work. Number porting was the only major issue - I had to pay Telstra for a phone line
I wasn't using two weeks longer than I should have because the first few people I spoke with gave the wrong information. The day after getting my PAP2T, it was up and running, and three people from WxC had rung to check! It was another two weeks before the number was ported. (Had two phone lines with the same number for a day ... hummm.)
It seemed somewhat strange that a person from accounts had to chase me up for several days just to check my address - a CSR eventually managed to confirm it to Account's satisfaction. There was also an issue for a few days when the CSRs couldn't work out how to change my Voice Portal password! There still is the occasional call quality issue - hard to diagnose because it only affects the other party, and it is a bit tedious to ask every person you speak with on the phone to tell you if there are any funny noises! (Unfortunately, they are more likely to stay silent, but make a mental note that "Internet phone" is poor quality, to be avoided.)
I have also set up a xNet account for a client of mine. This currently comes with bundled VFX, but getting it running has been a (low priority - for me) pain - drawn out, confused stories, etc, and is still not working. I think I have all the info they need now, but can't do anything because Sales have Sundays off, and their online signup tells me this particular customer does not exist! :-(
Overall on WxC - Very enthusiastic and friendly customer service, but after five years (apparently) they still don't have their VFX backend systems running smoothly. No major issues. I guess that is the benefit we get from having a limited choice of ATA devices.
We pay Telstra $50 per mth for 10 gigs of 4mb/2mb broadband (that does go up to those speeds), and $11.25 per month for VFX. That is about $12 per month less than what we used pay Telstra for broadband and phone, plus we get numerous services that Telstra wanted to charge us more for (most notably voicemail).
It is also significantly less the $70 per month Maverick suggests WxC naked DSL + VFX will work out at. Seems to me that Telecom is going to be able to screw most of you for a few years to come. Sorry about that! You'll just have to move to Wellington. (Or, at a pinch, Christchurch.)
VoIP is cool - cheap, works, and soooo many features. Trouble is, it seems that that a criteria for an ISP to become a telco is that their customer service has to be lowered towards the Telco industry standard. This needs to change, or people will go with the 'devil you know' theory, and stick with Telecom.