My (lack of) luck with ISPs in this place is a bit odd, but then people call Oz a developing country wrt Internet access and pricing. The following account of the last 3 years may be boring.
08.2001: I sign up with the enemy, tel$tra, for cable internet. ADSL was not affordable at that time. Telstra claims that they cannot transfer their copper to the house to my account, thus I can not get telephone and dial-up or ADSL are not possible. Telstra didn't ever manage to give me phone access at that place, but they did do cable and it worked - more or less, give or take the fucking "transparent" proxy that was anything but and the switching of IP addresses whenever it was most inconvenient.
11.2002: I've moved house, and in the new area there's no cable. After almost 3 months of dial-up access I decided to go for ADSL with Flow: static IP, 1gb peak and 3gb off-peak of download for $85.
11.2002: the first bill is incorrect, they bill me for the wrong (more expensive) service.
- 02.2003: eventually Flow fixes their billing goof.
- 08.2003: I'm moving house again, but at least ADSL stays available. The moving of the ADSL conn costs me $150, though.
- 03.2004: There's more competition around now, I can get about 10x the traffic volume and twice the speed for the same money. I decide to switch. But, to make things fun, Flow is not part of the elite clique Telstra gives access to their provisioning system, so the ADSL setup can't be transferred directly: disconnect, wait, reconnect.
- 31.04.2004: Flow has been cancelled a month before and the service terminates. I submit my application with the new guys, Dart. Expected downtime is about 10-14 days. Also, there's dialup to work which doesn't cost me beyond the phone costs.
- 10.05.04: Work chucks the dialup because the equipment is about dead, and because it was so convenient. No VPN planned, no service offered. Thanks a bunch! I'm starting to carry my lapdog around in the time-honoured sneakernet fashion.
- 12.05.04: the troubled ticket I injected into Dart's troubled system requesting a status update goes unanswered.
- 24.04.04: the followup on the troubled ticket vanishes in the bowels of Dart's support thingie, unanswered of course.
- 31.05.04: I'm testing my patience in Dart's phone support queue. After 35 minutes I get a fellow who is denied support by Tel$tra's provisioning system, thus can't check my status and promises a call back.
- 01.06.04: He calls back: Tel$tra lost my request or mislaid it somehow, and he's reinjected it. Fuck, more time without net. At least I got him to setup "complimentary" dialup for me for the meantime.
- 07.06.2004: Tel$tra finally gets their thumbs out of their asses and bounces the connection request with "has service with another provider". Wooopeee, things are getting even better. I'm pissed.
- 8.06.2004: I'm trying to hunt down Flow and Tel$tra to find out who didn't release the ADSL setup for over two months now.
In the meantime the complimentary dialup goes down, it says "account over limit at $207 owing". WTF? - 10.6.2004: the mails to Flow's support don't get answered, in part because Flow was bought and all-but-dismembered in the meantime. I'm down to calling and waiting again: the fellow at Flow/iinet says "but your Flow account is still active!"...I'm slightly dumbstruck, and start raving. Apparently the billing dept did nuke my account, the authentication environment doesn't let me in anymore but other parts of Flow Didn't Know. Bastards. I'm faxing my disconnection request again, pointing out the 3 months that have elapsed since. - 11.6.2004: I get a call from another Flow fellow who promises to get the ADSL line codes removed and thus freed up, and also that he'd email me when done. - 16.6.2004: I'm fed up waiting for things that don't happen, call Flow again. After 30 minutes in the queue I get trough to a support guy who says 'provisioning closes at 17:00, I can't check the details now'. Great! Let's endure their singalong queue music another hour tomorrow! I love it! - 17.6.2004: this time I spend only 2 minutes in the Flow queue, and the supportie over there confirms that officially, finally, properly, the line codes are gone as per 16.6. I get the Dart people to reinject my provisioning request, they give me an estimate of Friday next week, maybe a little later: Tel$tra has their thumbs up their asses again - of course that makes things slower. - 18.6.2004: the first Dart invoice arrives. I see an opening balance of $207, and a new charge of $143+$64=$207 for setup and the first month. HEY GREAT, LET'S CONTINUE THE 'WRONG BILL' GAME WITH THE NEW GUYS! I need that, oh so much, I just love all those troubles! I want more!
To be continued, hopefully with a success message Real Soon Now (snort).
Today is the 28.6.2004, and woohee! eventually most problems apparently got worked out and now I've got connectivity again. See the alcatel hack page for a rant, though. My current invoice is still wrong, I haven't received any welcome/setup mail or such and I've yet to get them to add the reverse dns entry (which they officially offer, so it won't be any drama), but the fattish bitpipe is here and works.