HOPEFULLY this post will be a warning to anyone considering Orcon and especially Orcon's Gigantic Fibre deal ...... AND hopefully some of you more learned folks might be able to answer the couple of QUESTIONS I have.
I set out a week ago to upgrade to Fibre. After doing a bit or research I decided to take a closer look at Spark but then discovered Orcon's Gigantic Fibre offer that includes an offer of free Google Wifi.
We work from home and so currently have 2 broadband connections from other providers which I'd like to replace - one of whom I've been with for 12 years but they don't offer a reasonable Fibre option - and the current WiFi options offered by both are not cutting it in a 4 bedroom house. All I want is a reasonable deal that WORKS. (Stupid me .... and I thought this was not asking too much???!!!)
So I do take a look at the Orcon offer.... and start my research. A week later and over 6 hours on the phone to both sales and Tech support at Orcon, I am absolutely frustrated at what I've discovered.
First I discover that Orcon wants to provide the NetCom NF18 Modem ... but this product is a terrible option with a reputation for poor WiFi delivery ..... hardly surprising when it is now over 3 years old and does not even have a single antenna with which to improve WiFi delivery. Okay so I'm happy to spend $300+ and get a decent modem. But I want to at least be certain that if I spend that money that it is going to work on Orcon Fibre. (I hope that sounds reasonable)
Next I discover that Orcon does not have a modem upgrade that I can purchase .... but even worse they cannot even tell me what other modems can - or can't, work with the system they are providing. (I don't know if they lack the knowledge, are poorly trained or simply don't care????)
So here is a summary of the other disturbing issues I discovered with the Orcan "Gigantic Fibre" deal they offer, so that it serves as a WARNING to others.
(1) You must use their cheap Netcom NF18 modem otherwise your VOIP telephone connection will no longer work (or so they told me) - and NO, they will not allow or assist you to reprogram your modem OR to use a better modem. In fact there is at least one specific settings they refuse to provide and that relates to the VOIP capabilty.
(2) If unsurprisingly you find that your WiFi coverage is not giving you the coverage or speed it should, this prevents you from replacing it with a better modem - even at your own expense. So without having even some basic information from Orcon you take a huge risk trying to buy a better modem. In fact it's a $300+ gamble .... and looking at TradeMe I discover a bunch of people trying to sell some great modems because they will not work on Orcon Fibre. That gamble gets even more expensive, because after spending that $300, you are then faced with paying another $300 to break the 12 or 24 month supply Agreement that Orcon tries to hook you into ASAP.
(3) With the Gigantic Fibre Agreement, Orcon tells you they will supply you with a free Google WiFi to make this offer look appealing. But what they don't tell you is that they will not deliver the Google WiFi hardware to you till after you are locked into your contract, but of course by then it's too late and you are up for $299 to break your contract - meanwhile you are stuck with a service that does not function to reasonable expectations. When I asked why they won't deliver the Google Wifi hardware under the terms they advertise, the answer is "we want to see some usage going through first". So what sort of offer is that? ... either they say they will supply or they won't. Why promise something and then decide when they want to fulfill their obligations? When asked about this and the reason why, the answer is simply "oh well, that's just management policy ... we don't know how long it will be".....???? So what they are saying is you sign-up and then we'll supply when we feel like it. This is important to me because I would like to prevent weeks of messing around and one of the best ways to do this is to organise several hours at one time in which to complete all of the installation, the modem and the Google Wifi in one go. (I hope that sounds reasonable to you ... but it didn't when I tried to explain that to Orcon.)
(4) BUT WORSE IS STILL TO COME ......Orcon refuses to provide ANY tech support whatsoever for the installation of the Google WiFi they have supposedly supplied you. In other words, YOU take all the risk, Orcon takes none ... but you still pay. Surely you have to wonder about the intentions of any company that provides you with the hardware, but refuses to support the installation of it?" Oh and by the way, they don't disclose this to you in the sale ... you have to go hunt for that information in the small print on their website. Fortunately I believe in doing my research first.
(5) Unless you have any technical expertise you risk committing to a 12 - 24 months contract (and a $300 break payment) but you are given no assistance or assurances that you get any sort of acceptable Wi-Fi coverage. This has to particularly be a worry when the old modem they provide does not even have a single aerial on it, and they cannot provide or sell an upgrade .... or any guidance?
(6) None of this information is disclosed in their online advertising and sales offer ......or in conversations (sales pitches) with 2 different sales staff.
(7) Neither Orcon's Sales or Tech Support staff will provide any explanation whatsoever why the customer is treated in this manner, or what steps you can take to insure your service will work effectively.
(8) Advertising this offer without providing all of the relevant information disclosed above is tantamount to misrepresentative advertising.
Fortunately I had sufficient technical expertise to investigate and discover this before it was too late. I feel those that do not have this knowledge. Do not touch Orcon's Gigantic Fibre with a barge-pole ...... and this leaves me disgusted with Orcon as a service provider.
So after providing this WARNING, here's my THREE QUESTIONS
1: Bearing in mind that Vocus also own Orcon, Slingshot, Flip and Talk - can anyone recommend a service provider that can offer a Fibre installation in Auckland with a reasonably effective WiFi coverage for a 4 bed house, is reliable, can provide knowledgeable tech support that is happy to provide constructive advice .... and whose customers do matter to them? Your recommendations would be appreciated.
2: If you've used Orcon for a Fibre installation and had a problen with the limited WiFi capability of the NetCom NF18 Modem and then and bought a better modem which successfuly integrated with Gigantic Fibre without too much hassle, I'd be interested to know which Modem you bought and used, and how much hassle was involved in the installation?
3: If you have purchased Orcon's Gigantic Fibre Plan and received the Google WiFi hardware, I'd be interested to hear about your experience. How long did you have to wait for the Googfle WiFi hardware to arrive from Orcon? Was the installation reasonably effective and straight forward? And did you use another modem or just the cheapie NetCom NF18 that they supplied?
Thanks in advance for all thoughts, comments and answers.