The NBN is really pissing me off

How does it piss me off?  Let me count the ways…

The endless harassing telephone calls from Telstra to join their NBN.  They don't stop, no matter how many times you tell them that it's too expensive for you (with them, or other service suppliers).  They were of the foolish opinion that costs would stay the same as people transferred (perhaps that may be true on their own, already over-priced internet).  And it was very hard to drum into them that you don't care if it offers more, faster, or whatever else.  From my perspective, it simply costs more than I'm already spending, and I don't want to spend more.  If I don't want to spend $20 more a month, I don't want to, even if you try and sweeten the deal with other stuff.  It's called managing my budget.

Unlike some people, I don't hæemorrhage money, monthly, by joining umpteen things that cost X dollars per month, regardless of use (or need).  I'm not one of those people who delusionally believe that they're saving money by not having to pay for some of the extra features that were thrown in with their expensive package deal.  I save money by not spending it, in the first place.  I have a budget phone plan, because I make very few calls.  I have a cheap mobile phone plan that has year-long expiry on the credit, because I make very few calls.  I have a budget internet plan, because I don't pirate movies, play games, or watch tv over the internet.  I don't have pay tv because I don't see the need (why pay for more channels of stuff that I don't want to watch, still interrupted with adverts?).  I don't have a credit card, nor any debt.

Enquiries about using the NBN without great expense lead to the following discoveries:  You could get an approximately $20 per month NBN budget phone service (like you could with the old copper wire phone lines), but then they wanted to charge you 50¢ for each local call (approx twice the price of local calls with the copper wire network).  The alternative is a much more expensive monthly cost, of around twice the price, with free local calls thrown in (they're not free, of course, you're paying for them differently).  Telstra just doesn't seem to get it that there are a plethora of VOIP services which only charge you $5–$10 a month, and include either free local calls (to other subscribers, or a small number of free local calls to any other phone, per month), or only charge 5¢ for calls.  And considering that most calls are IP, these days, without going through a telephone exchange, there is no justification for call costs (connection costs, or long distance charges), as you're already paying for your internet service and data traffic (your phone call is just more traffic, the same as a webpage, or anything else you might do on the web).  They want to quadruple dip, by charging you a monthly access charge with a certain data allowance, use part of that data allowances for your phone data, charge connection costs, and charge extra depending on the destination.

Eventually they got the message that it was too expensive, and came back and offered a discounted bundle that matched the price of my current, separate, ADSL and phone services.  But it meant bundling my phone and internet, something I don't want to do, and being locked into a two-year contract, something else I didn't want to do.  So while I considered that, I contacted my existing ISP, to see if they'd price match, or at least match their own NBN pricing with their own ADSL2+ plans pricing, so that my enforced move to the NBN wouldn't cost any more.  But nup, Adam was as bad as Telstra.  Wanting to charge more, and attempt to sweeten the deal by including VOIP instead of normal telephony.  And they refuse to match anybody, not even their own plans.

Here's Adam Internet's pricing (below).  You can see that their ADSL2+ plan pricing is rather good, being affordable and with good data allowances, certainly better than the first two slower NBN plans (12/1 and 25/5 Mbps), which have kind-of equivalent speeds, but their NBN plans suck.  I found their ADSL2+ to be reliable at around half speed (11 Mbps), and few things I did ever even came close to needing that speed, never mind needing anything faster, so I never tried to get it to run at top speed (24 Mbps), which I know few people manage to achieve (that's ADSL, in general, not just Adam's).

Adam Internet monthly pricing (Feb 2015)
ADSL2+ NBN Speeds
24/1 Mbps 12/1 Mbps 25/5 Mbps 50/20 Mbps 100/40 Mbps
Data
allowance
50 GB $59.90 $64.90 $74.90 $79.90
100 GB $29.95
250 GB $69.90 $74.90 $89.90 $89.90
300 GB $49.95
500 GB $89.90 $94.90 $104.90 $109.90
600 GB $69.95
1000 GB $89.95 $99.90 $104.90 $114.90 $119.90

NB:  With ADSL2+, everybody is offered 24 Mbps download speed, with a 1 Mbps upload speed, but they may not actually be able to get it to work that fast.  It'll probably be less than half that.  The NBN still doesn't guarantee the speeds that they advertise, but don't have the same issues to deal with (an ancient copper wire telephone network, that was never designed to carry data), so they should be a lot closer to the mark.  What's probably going to be a problem with NBN is suppliers sharing limited bandwidth amongst customers, too much.

I don't have that much money to waste on the internet, I didn't fancy spending more to get less, they don't have a budget plan any more, and their cheapest plan is really crap for what's supposed to be a “broadband” network, their fastest plans are still too slow for the modern world of broadband internet.  Once again, Australian ISPs fail to realise that “broadband” means being able to download a lot of data fast (both, not just one or the other), and not just inadequately faster than dial-up.  It has to be fast enough to do the new things that are on the internet, that use a lot of data.  Never mind the older things, that are not as huge, that it still isn't really good enough for.  Our top level NBN internet plans are somewhat of a joke, overseas, comparable to their bottom choice plans—we are seriously behind the times, and these limits shouldn't exist with internet over fibre-optics.  So I told my ISP (of some seven years) that they'd shot themselves in the foot, and will be leaving.

When I finally caved (since my existing ISP offered a crap NBN alternative), there was another plethora of calls, and a hell of a lot of headaches dealing with the Telstra phone and internet service from hell.  Firstly the hour-long (I kid you, not) sales pitch, product explanation, and sign-up process, that said I was getting various things included (free installation, free inclusion of up to so-many metres of cabling, the data speed, a free speed upgrade, the download allowance, a free cordless phone, et cetera).  Then, later on, two more, shorter, phone calls both telling me the same things (that I'd be sent a self-install kit, and the date it'd arrive, and what I'd have to do with it, talking about a lesser data speed and download allowance, than I'd signed up for), to which I'd told them that this really wasn't suitable (the equipment is not installed in a suitable place for a self-install), which one ignored, the other telling me it'd be cheaper to get a private contractor to re-cable things suitably.

My existing ADSL2+ service was from Adam internet, their minimum plan was good enough for me (speed and data allowance-wise).  But their cheapest NBN was more expensive then their own ADSL2+ plans, and had massively less data allowance.

Eventually you'll be forced off the old copper phone lines that provide voice and ADSL onto the fibre-optic lines that provide voice and NBN, with a massive price hike (with just about every ISP), and a reduction in service (especially mine).

The only real benefits, to me, of switching over to fibre-optic cabling, will be that I should no-longer have to listen to hum and buzz over the top of a phone call, and it shouldn't get worse in wet weather.  But I have suspicions that we're going to find that the fibre-optic cable drop from the street to the house will be less robust than the old copper wiring.  So strong winds are probably going to more of a problem than they used to (cable breaks).  Never mind falling tree branches, even small ones.

The NBN is too expensive, and this gold-plated service (with a gold-plated price-tag) is too much for general consumption.  It'd be less of an issue if there were alternative budget services, but they're being shut down as the copper phone lines are decomissioned, and wireless is a poor contender, so you're blackmailed into it.


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