Iinet’s lack of QOS (again), another reason for Software + Services

(I seem to recall having issues with Iinet in the past. Looking through my blog it appears I did when I was setting up my original Naked DSL account last year)

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been moving apartments. Whilst I’m only moving upstairs in the same apartment block I still have to go through the usual process of redirecting mail and of course changing my ASDL connection.  Last year when I moved to Sydney I took advantage of the then new Naked DSL option from Iinet and to be honest have been exceptionally happy with it.  I’ve even recommended it to people as it was stable and a very cost effective option for people who don’t really need a landline.

Unfortunately Iinet seems to have lost their ability to service customers, specifically, existing customers who wish to change their existing service.  Essentially what I was asking for wasn’t rocket science – I’m moving apartments, so need the service transferred to the new apartment with minimal disruption.

I accept that

a) I would have to pay to get the service transferred

b) I would most likely have to wait for a couple of days for the transfer to happen

I was also away for the week prior to moving, so didn’t get around to organising the transfer until the Monday after moving (14th July).  At this time I was sent a confirmation email stating that the service would be provision (yes, that’s right, there’s no process for transferring it so it has to go through the full provisioning process which apparently still typically takes 10-20days) last Thursday (24th July).

This email states that they don’t normally require access to the premise but if they do, and you aren’t available, they will charge you $109 to reschedule. So, I did the sensible thing and stayed home for the duration of the appointment (did I mention it was to be done somewhere between 8am and 1pm!). As I had a meeting in the city at 2pm I left at 1:30pm having not heard anything from Iinet. 

Later that day, I think around 6pm, I called Iinet to find out whether my account was active or not.  I had more work to do that evening so wanted to know if my account was active so I could work from home instead of the office. At this stage I was told definitively that the line had been provisioned and that it was operational. As you can probably guess I got home to discover that the line wasn’t available!

After a bit of a discussion with Iinet as to why I had been told that it was connected when it hadn’t, I was reassured that someone would contact me the following day. Sure enough no one contacted me during the day. At this point I was still assuming that someone had come the previous day, completed the provisioning and that I was waiting on Iinet to complete the setup (the email mentioned earlier did state that it may take a day or so following provisioning for a confirmation email to be sent out). When I got home in the evening I checked my mailbox and discovered a “we tried, but you weren’t home” notice from the line technician from the previous day.

The notice stated a couple of things:

Customer appointment:   8am – 12pm (and hour shorter than the time specified by Iinet)

Time that technician arrived:  1:20pm (a good hour and twenty after their appointment and twenty minutes after even the Iinet appointment. Also before I left the apartment).

The implication from this was that the technician came late, didn’t try the buzzer and/or my mobile, and just left. Another call to Iinet, around 6:30pm on Friday, so of course all I got was a “everyone’s gone home for the weekend, why would you want the Internet over the weekend, we’ll get someone to call you first thing on Monday to organise a new appointment as soon as possible”

Having waited patiently all weekend I decided that I’d keep the ball rolling and get in early – I called Iinet at 8:45am this morning, only to be told that no one from provisioning was available as it was still before 9am. They also reassured me that someone would contact me as soon as they were in.

Around 11:15am, having heard nothing from Iinet I decided to give them a call back. At this stage they fed me some rubbish about the provisioning system having been down this morning (like I actually care) and that no there wasn’t a team leader available to discuss my case with. They assured me that someone would call me back within the hour.

The next time I looked up it was 2:15pm – time for another call to Iinet.  It’s got to the point where I know their phone menu system well enough to get straight into the queue. Anyhow, again I get told that no-one senior could help me and that they would call me back soon…… waiting….. waiting….. eventually around 3:45 a team leader/manager calls me back.

After explaining the entire situation again (don’t they have call notes for this stuff) I’m told that he would have to make some calls and would contact me again tomorrow morning. I pushed a little bit harder, explaining this wasn’t good enough and that he should try to give me a call back this evening. He tried to tell me that he was in Auckland and it was past his bedtime – after explaining that there was still plenty of time in the day here in Sydney he got the picture that I was less than happy with Iinet’s pitiful service level. Within about 10-15 minutes he had called me back…..can you guess what happens next.

When this guy calls me back he says the best he can do for me is to schedule a new appointment for the 6th August. So for some reason, because Telstra/Iinet are incompetent I have to go without Internet for another week and a half.  I’m sorry this is not acceptable!

Ok, so just briefly, cause this has been a bit of a long winded explanation, I want to come back to the subject. I think I’ve covered the fact that Iinet’s QOS is less than acceptable but how does this apply to Software + Services. Well one of the topics that I’ve been interested in for some time is around building applications that will work well when they are occasionally connected.  For example Outlook in Cached mode essentially does a lot of operations locally, and then synchronises with Exchange.  This is the basic premise of Occasionally Connected Systems, which are in themselves really just a special case of Software + Services. 

Taking the Outlook example, with my limited connectivity at home (via my 3G phone which doesn’t seem to connect to half the websites out there) I can still do email as normal.  Sure the sending/receiving is slower but for most of my email/calendaring/contacts this doesn’t matter.  In fact, if more applications were built with this in mind perhaps my computer wouldn’t grind to a halt everything there is a network outage.  As I’ve been doing some web dev in the past couple of months I’ve had to use FireFox for testing – this product is one of the worst offenders for hanging when there is no Internet connection!

Update: If you read Tatham’s blog you will have seen this post, where he talks about his issues with Iinet.  Granted he’s been messed around even more than I have but regardless this quality level is definitely not acceptable.

Update 2: Just received an email confirming the appointment on the 6th August but also indicating that I’m up for a $109 fee for rescheduling the appointment!

Update 3: (30/7/2008) After 4 phone calls with various people at different levels within Iinet I have a new appointment that is a whole 2 days earlier. whoopie….

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