Getting some first-hand experience of NBN connection confusion

As part of my job as a journalist, I report on the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

That has included writing about the pace of the rollout, why the guy across the road can now connect to the internet and the difference between fibre to the node and fibre to the premises.

More recently, it’s meant writing stories about the frustration and confusion people experience with the network – frustration when their connection isn’t working and confusion when they try and find out who is supposed to fix it.

For me, it’s always been someone else’s problem. I haven’t had to worry about it myself because I wasn’t connected to the NBN at home.

It wasn't because we were Luddites or anything like that – we just hired DVDs or watched payTV rather than stream movies and I didn’t see the sense in looking at the internet on a TV screen.

Okay, so maybe we were Luddites. But only a little bit.

That’s changed now that we’ve finally joined the 21st century and connected to the NBN.

And I’m seeing things from the other side of the fence now.

The technician was several hours late for my 8am-noon connection appointment and – even though I knew he was with NBNCo and not my service provider –  it was really frustrating.

My provider had no way of telling me where the technician was or how much longer he’d be. When the clock hit 2pm, they effectively told me “it doesn’t look like he’s coming. But we don't know for sure”.

Luckily I chose to stay at home because he arrived 10 minutes later. 

I understand the theory behind having the separate layers between NBNCo and service providers.

But, as I found out last week, in practice it doesn’t work very well at all.