Image credit: The Australian
Moving house recently meant I had to choose a new ISP. After researching the best deals available in my area (West Wodonga), it turned out the best plan was.. Bigpond. Like many enthusiasts, I would recommend pretty much any other ISP before Bigpond, due to inflated prices, low downloads, exorbitant overage charges and poor customer service. So after running the numbers I was surprised to arrive at the conclusion that Telstra + Bigpond was the cheapest deal.
Unfortunately Naked ADSL is still unavailable here, so that was off the table. I make exactly 0 calls on the landline, choosing an appropriate mobile plan has given me the freedom to call anyone anytime. If I could go naked, I would have. With that annoying $20-$30 monthly line rental still being a necessary evil to get online, I had to take that into consideration. I had previously shared an Internode connection with a housemate for the past 4 years and been very happy with their offerings.. that said recent disagreements between Telstra and Internode meant that cheaper wholesale prices haven’t reached Internode plans that use Telstra Exchange infrastructure.
The end result was for $88 a month, I get 100GB download, ADSL2 speeds and that includes the line rental. Other providers really didn’t come close. If your looking for this plan, it’s actually a bundle with the T-Box by default (HOME SAVER Bundle 100GB – $99), but this can be deselected to save money. Right now T-box doesn’t really interest me, I’ve already got way too many set-top media devices and Boxee and Google TV are on the horizon.
After making the order, I was given a 10-15 working day (or up to 3 weeks) ETA. Annoyingly long I hoped for an earlier than expected connection date. On Friday I posted on twitter that I was facing another frustratingly disconnected weekend.
Surprisingly the Telstra Social Media Team responded within minutes with a lengthy 3 paragraph email. They had looked at the progress of my case and detailed the reason for the timeframe and that early this week (only 7-8 working days) I should receive the Home Network Gateway (router) and be online. This kind of customer service from Telstra was unimaginable even 12 months ago.
Again it amazes me just how differently this company is being run. Telstra and Bigpond is worth a second look when choosing providers. While I’m sure there’s still horror stories out there, its time drop the automatic prejudice against them, its no longer founded. One final note is the required 24 month contract, it was un-nerving at first knowing the NBN is on the way, but after knowing Tesltra will switch to the NBN when it becomes available, those concerns were abated.