Hostage to bad ser­vice

Geraldton Guardian - - Opinion - Grant Wood­hams

I’m on the phone, lis­ten­ing to the sixth, sev­enth or eighth re­play of the “hold mu­sic” I have been trans­ferred to while I wait to speak to some­one in another coun­try (South Africa per­haps) whom I hope will be able to help me with my in­ter­net prob­lems.

The mu­sic is start­ing to drive me mad and I won­der if I have been dis­con­nected or parked in some in­ter­minable hell of the worst el­e­va­tor mu­sic known to hu­man­ity.

When a voice cuts across the line it is sheer re­lief. “Hello this is. How can I help?”

There is a fan­tas­tic amount of noise in the back­ground and my mobile re­cep­tion is not fan­tas­tic, my lan­d­line hav­ing gone down with all things com­puter over a day ago. I in­quire again as to the name of the woman who is tak­ing my in­quiry.

She replies in an ac­cent that I strug­gle to un­der­stand.

No luck there, so I push on. I ex­plain that my in­ter­net is down. I live in Ger­ald­ton, WA. Is she able to tell me when it likely to be re­con­nected.

“Just a mo­ment,” she says, and then there is the sound of a key­board with fin­gers typ­ing away. It goes on and on, on and on. Then si­lence.

“Is there any­one there?” I in­quire. More si­lence. I con­tem­plate hang­ing up, but this call has al­ready taken 45 min­utes of my time. If I hang up I will be at the back of the queue again. I hold on.

And then she of the un­known name is back again.

“Sorry I was just speak­ing with the NBN,” she says. “I don’t know what the prob­lem is. When did you hear about it?”

Don’t they know their own net­work?

I be­gin to tell her but the si­lence re­turns. The call has been ter­mi­nated at her end.

West­net was once a great West Aus­tralian com­pany, a Ger­ald­ton com­pany even, but it was sold and these days is part of the TPG Tele­com em­pire.

I have found TPG is like most large or­gan­i­sa­tions, big on words and small on ac­tion.

It seems the peo­ple in ru­ral and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties are, sadly, not im­por­tant to TPG and are poorly ser­viced.

Most of us are hostage to the in­ter­net. Like frogs in wa­ter, slowly brought to the boil, it is too late to jump out.

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