September 23, 2008

Broadband Error Disrupts


Cambridge resident Graham Reed has to make the journey to his South Auckland office two more times a week after he lost his broadband connection and was told it could take up to a year for him to get it back.

Mr Reed switched to Vodafone from Telecom last month to take advantage of its home phone wireless package so he could get free national toll calls, but lost his broadband connection in the process.

He normally works from home as an insurance broker, but is now driving to his Manukau office just to check his emails before work.

When Mr Reed visited a Vodafone store to query what had happened, he was told that when his line and broadband service were transferred over to Vodafone from Telecom they accidentally "hit a switch twice instead of once", losing his space on the port serving his East Cambridge house.

Vodafone spokesperson Paul Brislen, unable to work out where the fault happened, said the company was working with Telecom to ensure it didn't happen again.

Telecom confirmed it had received a request to disconnect Mr Reed from broadband. Because of limited space on the port serving his house, Mr Reed's spot was snapped up by another customer on the waiting list and he is now second in a queue of six. The first person had been waiting for 23 days.

"It was a complete muck-up," Mr Reed said, who has already been without broadband for a month. "The upside of switching to Vodafone was the free toll calls, but there were six negatives to go with that."

To compensate Vodafone has provided him with a mobile USB modem in the meantime, but it still takes Mr Reed up to three hours to download emails. Vodafone credited him $400 of a $650 phone bill he had accrued from temporarily losing his telephone line and the calls he had made to Vodafone to sort the problem.

Telecom refuted claims that it gives Telecom customers priority. Spokeswoman Helen Isbister said work to increase broadband capacity was scheduled because of a spike in demand and would be carried out in four to six weeks.

Telecom said Cambridge East was one of many areas in the Waikato where it had work scheduled.

Meanwhile, a group of business, local government, tertiary and community leaders have formed a working group to advance the provision of broadband across the whole of Waikato by accessing funding from central government. The first step is to survey the region to establish the uptake of broadband and to understand expectation and requirements for increased broadband provision in the region. A survey can be obtained from the Waikato Chamber of Commerce. Are you also having problems accessing broadband? Email business


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