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What's life really like on the NBN?

Stephanie McDonald | May 22, 2013
Computerworld Australia spoke Kiama Downs residents about their experiences using the NBN.

She has around 70 clients for her bookkeeping business and uses the Internet for basic functions such as email, accessing Australian Tax Office portals and lodging BAS statements.

But reliable and faster Internet has become more important for her as more businesses and individuals move to cloud-based accounting.

"So it's really important for us to have a good Internet connection so that we can process work for our clients using Internet-based software," she says.

"If it's a slow connection, then that slows us down, so the NBN has been fantastic for that."

Williams has been connected to the NBN for around 15 months and is on the 100/40Mbps speed with Exetel, paying around $50 a month.

Williams says she signed up to the fastest speed on the network because the price was comparable to what she was paying on ADSL2 with TPG.

She initially heard about the benefits of the NBN, such as its reliability and speeds, and made the switch when she realised it was going to benefit her business.

Williams experienced the most problems out of all the Kiama residents Computerworld Australia spoke to.

"There have been some occasions -- not a lot -- where it has slowed right down, but that's only been less than a handful of times," Williams says.

"I do only recall one day where I actually had to make a phone call and say 'what's happening?' because it just kept dropping out, and they were aware of the issue."

When the dropouts occurred, Williams said it was a matter of waiting until the connection came live again. This lasted a few hours each time.

Williams also experienced some frustration during the installation process. She says the external box for the NBN was initially placed on the opposite side of the house to where her office was located, which she was told would have meant running cables through walls inside her home.

"I said 'that's not going to happen'," Williams says.

She says NBN subcontractors agreed to move the box to the other side of the house but requested she pay for the move after initially being told it would be done at no cost.

"So I had to fight with NBN [Co] to get it moved at no cost to me," Williams says.

The box was eventually relocated at no charge to her.

"It was over Christmas as well, which didn't help, but from memory it was about two months before it was finally sorted," Williams says.

"They were [eventually] quite agreeable with whatever we said as long as it didn't interfere with their installation and make it difficult."

Williams has also had trouble using her Engin VoIP phone on the NBN, with calls randomly dropping out. She says she has spoken to Engin about the problem, which said "it was a known NBN issue".


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