"Eight days I been waiting for my connection!"


 The Reverend plugs into the NBN..or tries to


Well the NBN project has been busily digging holes and ripping up footpaths in my neighbourhood for quite a while now it seems, and come last Tuesday it was the turn of the ancestral Hellfire Manor to be hooked up to the brave new world of fibre optics. Well, that was the plan.

Alas, the promised 3 hour connection job stretched out to become a four day nightmare with telestra technicians camped in my living room and lengthy incomprehensible conversations with heavily-accented & confused call centre functionaries.

I always suspected there would be problems. The old homestead is over a hundred years old and its plumbing and wiring is a make-do patchwork slapped together over time by well meaning and unqualified tradesmen. Further complicating matters was my ISP, EFTEL, an obscure and minor provider. I had concerns about whether they were communicating with Telestra, because they were certainly not communicating with me.

To be fair the nightmare was not of the telestra technicians making. They were perfect gents who struggled manfully to get me connected, above and beyond the call of duty.

But someone hadn’t done their homework, and I suspect that EFTEL is largely to blame, though Telestra has some culpability.

But its hard to apportion blame as its hard to find anyone to take responsibility. Responsibility gets lost somewhere amongst the welter of sub-contracts and third-parties. Phone calls get passed endlessly between one section and another.

EFTEL certainly seemed ill prepared and they never answered my emails on the subject in the weeks leading up to the big change..

For example; They were supposed to send me an upgraded modem for free as part of the deal, but come the day before it was all due to happen, there was no sight of my new modem. When I phoned EFTEL and found someone who knew what I was talking about, I was eventually assured it was “in the mail”. Was that the sound of a modem being furiously shoved into an envelope I could hear in the background?

Actually no, because in the end they subcontracted to DODO to supply me the modem and it arrived by express post the next morning with minutes to spare.

The actual wiring went smoothly enough, but come the time to connect..problems!

Something was wrong somewhere, but what? The technicians made enquiries but It seemed impossible to find someone on the phone at EFtel who knew what was happening. After a couple of hours of frustrating phone calls EVERY EFTEL line went down, except of course for their SALES AND MARKETING line which was now our only point of contact with EFTEL. Except they weren’t really EFTEL but another third party subcontracted to do their marketing. Who knew nothing.

Trying DODO they knew nothing.

And on it went.


EFTEL were back online the next day and we tried again. I won’t bore you with the details but for awhile there was a debate back and forth on whose fault it was, Telestras or Eftels. The line was checked again up to the Exchange.Strange crackly voices rang at intervals to ask if my connection was working. when I said no, they went away, never to return. It was always a different voice. Sometimes it was Telestra. Sometimes it was EFTEl.

On the fourth day the technicians returned, tried again, said the line should be working but it wasn’t, shook my hand sadly, wished me luck and left for another job that had been waiting all this time. Single handedly, without meaning to, I had held up the whole NBN effort for days. There’s definitely going to be a budget blow-out for this.

Eventually some persistent boy at EFTEL nailed the problem after many goes, and we both wept together with happiness and relief. The technicians were likewise pleased when they later rang me up to see how we were going with it all. Champagne corks popped back at the Telestra office. My daughter could go back to playing Internet games and gossiping online with her friends. And this weeks sermon would still go up after all! Western Civilization was saved!


Well whats to be learned at the end of it all?

I’ve got to admit that I was pretty unexcited by the whole NBN thing. Didn’t need it, didn’t want, don’t care about superfast download speeds. I had a pretty good, cheap, ADSL2 connection that met my needs. Was this fibre-optic network really needed? Is it really the Nation building piece of infrastructure Australia had to have to keep up with the 21st century technological-Joneses? Frankly I have no idea, and I guess as long as it wasn’t costing me anything I was fairly indifferent, like sure, whatever. Not much of a vote winner here, Julia, sorry.

I’ve got to say though its been drawn to my attention what an immensely complicated process is involved. There are a lot of different parties that have to communicate with each other to make it all work. I suspect many of my connection problems would not have occurred if my ISP had been TELESTRA instead of a minor third party.

Still, if the problems I experienced are any indication, the NBN is going to take a lot longer than projected to complete and there will be a budget blow out.Its going to be a lot more expensive than predicted.

Still, things can be expected to prove. Its still early days yet, my area being one of the first to hook in, so presumably all the parties involved will be learning from experience.

(Actually, on thinking about it, I blame Aliens. If the Americans hadn’t back-engineered the Optic fibre samples from the Roswell crash we wouldn’t be in this situation today. If coppers good enough for the Sumerians its good enough for me.)



The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists AND the Church of the Universe.

Thats thrice the brindled cat hath mewed!



~ by reverendhellfire on November 13, 2011.

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