In my last post a mere two weeks ago, I wrote at length about my grandchildren and their obsession with being in constant “virtual” touch with their friends. While it was written as an observational piece on what is occupying today’s teenagers, some could have read that post as criticism. Someone in the virtual ether certainly did.

A few days later, a technician came to install our National Broadband Network – a fibre optic cable system which is being rolled out across Australia to replace the existing copper wire. The installation did not go to plan, and we were left without home phone and Internet access for eight days. Eight long days, hours and hours of which were spent repeating my story to our provider’s various call centres around the southern hemisphere.

It was extremely awkward to carry on without all the tools I am used to having at my fingertips. Internet browsing, emailing with links and/or Microsoft attachments, printing, contact address books, Skyping in pyjamas, and all those other things we now take for granted. As well, people were leaving messages on our landline phone, and wondering why I wasn’t calling back. I came up with a workaround, but it was frustrating in the extreme!

And that, my friends, is Karma.

I am happy to say that my handsome prince – aka my Laptop Lover – has returned to me at last, bringing with him many messages from the World.Wide.Web.

All is now right in the Kingdom.

FootNote: The first thing that popped up when I connected was a Skype contact request from a Sugar Louis. In her tiny photo, she looks petite and pretty. Perhaps she is one of the Telco’s customer service people whom I spoke to in the Philippines calling to check the line quality? And then again, perhaps not 🙂

21 thoughts on “KARMA

  1. Your experience sounds all too familiar. Internet/telephone/TV companies must all be guided by the same book to frustrate consumers. And the Help Desk…. Forget it, first you have to go through half the staff to even understand what they are saying. My wife thinks I am rude when I ask, ‘How is the weather in New Delhi?’


    • All through this experience, I have been receiving a customer satisfaction survey after the call asking me to rate the operator! I think that is unfair, when the customer is still so focused on the lack of service provision or trying to resolve connectivity issues. I can only guess it is a reaction to complaints about call centres, and I have to say, the “customer service” I have received has varied widely. Mostly woeful, and two much better (particularly if he calls me back today as promised).

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  2. I admit…..I am ‘hooked’ on some digital devices. While it doesn’t control my life I really do need to unplug more often. No problem with the 10:00 curfew since it coincides with my bed time anyway!! Ha ha


    • I did catch up on other things, shopping for replacement and maintenance bits and pieces for example. So not all was lost. I am a night owl, so rarely go to bed before midnight, but that first night with the grandkids it was after 2am before they finally settled, and calls/texts etc were still coming through on the cell phone. I wonder what happens on “school night”?

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  3. I expect initially you were thrilled with the improved quality and the amazing speed of pages just loading in a blink, but being humans it doesn’t last long. If you’re anything like me you’ll start trying to do multiple tasks on multiple split screens and moaning that it’s NOT FAST enough!😉😉😉


    • Oh, rolling on the floor laughing! No, none of my pages are loading in a blink. However, I have only bought the cheapest of the three speed packages until I gauge what I really need. In any case since the last cabling leg, from basement to fifth floor, is still copper, I have my doubts as to its speed capacity anyway. I’ll ask around my other neighbours when they manage to switch over. There has only been a few of us guinea pigs brave enough to attempt it so far.


    • Ah yes, we still have copper! I think it is “The Tyranny of Distance” issue. Too much land, too few people, and not enough of them are taxpayers. Apparently Australia is the second least densely populated country with 6.4 people per square mile, as compared to Canada’s 9.27 people per square mile. That of course is an average, both our countries are similar in the great variances in density from cities to “outback”. Another factor hampering infrastructure planning and budgeting is that we churn our two major political parties so quickly, from Liberal to Labor and back again, and I think they oppose each other’s plans out of spite, rather than forward planning for the country. Where is that benevolent dictator Lee Kuan Yew when you need him?


  4. at least you have access to the NBN! We still need a home phone line to get internet access!!! Copper wire…..when it rains our service is so hopeless. drop outs all the time – reset everything, try again. When we have trouble we use our mobile phones or iPads with sim cards and get much better speeds and reliability. We can print from out devices if needed. Hope the NBN is successful for you now you actually have it!


    • Being in a high rise apartment, what we actually have is NBN Fibre to the Basement (FTTB). Fibre-optic cables from the street INTO our communications room in the basement. From there, the signal OUT of the comms room is connected to our existing copper infrastructure that runs up to our individual apartments. I speed tested many times today, and am getting around 23mpbs download speed using the ethernet connection. I have achieved that also with wireless, but just now it dropped to 12mpbs. It might have something to do with people watching movies in the evening and chewing up bandwidth. Not sure yet. I can’t expect much more than 23mpbs as I only bought the Tier 1 package from Optus to start with. I did get my printer to operate wirelessly, but I have never been able to get my iPad to detect my printer. Plus I was a cheapskate and didn’t pay up for the version with the in-built SIM. I have a smartphone now but with very limited data (which I mostly used up last night checking who made the long list for the Stella Prize – not Me! grunt). With regards to the NBN install, the big outstanding issue is that I cannot get our emergency medical call system to work. So not completely out of the woods yet. Grrrr.


    • I had a pleasant surprise this morning when my replacement modem arrived several days earlier than promised. I have been going hard at catching up ever since I got it all set up properly. We have an emergency alarm system that I gave up on. I’ll make that someone else’s problem to fix :(-

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