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NBN nightmare

When the Coalition took over the NBN rollout, not only did they destroy a nation building game changer, they have caused enormous problems by imposing a “Cease Sale” order.

Essentially the Cease Sale provision prohibits Telstra from supplying most types of new copper and HFC services to Retail and Wholesale customers after the Cease Sale Commencement Date for a Rollout Region. Generally, the Cease Sale Commencement Date occurs 10 Business Days after the Region Ready for Service Date (RRFSD) for an NBN Rollout Region and applies to premises that are either:

  • NBN Serviceable; or
  • identified in the NBN Co Service Qualification System as being Frustrated.

In other words, they are forcing people to sign up to the NBN, which would be all very well if they had the technicians to actually provide the service but they don’t.

And it gets worse.

In March this year, my Telco provider made a porting mistake that caused my business service to be disconnected. They agree that it was their mistake but Telstra will not let them fix it because it would involve reconnecting the copper line that was mistakenly disconnected.

I placed an order with Telstra to have the NBN connected but they cannot do it yet. I have been given countless time frames all of which have come and gone – the latest is possibly on the 19th of May. Meanwhile, my business has no EFTPOS or security.

We have lost thousands of dollars and many regular customers. Our staff is abused daily because of the lack of EFTPOS and our clients have been enormously inconvenienced. We are also at great risk with no security.

The complaints section of Telstra has been outsourced to the Philippines and there is absolutely no communication between them and the local NBN sales team, both of whom tell me different things. There is very obvious resentment on the Australian end where they have told me that the people in the Philippines don’t know what they are talking about. My experience leads me to agree.

When I said in frustration to the Telstra NBN salesman that the NBN should be blown up his response was “tell me about it – it’s a nightmare.”

I lodged a complaint with the Telecommunications Ombudsman back in March but what it boils down to is that no-one can override this government directive. All it would take is for Telstra wholesale to flick a switch to reactivate my copper line while I am waiting for the NBN to be connected but they can’t or won’t.

I have spent hundreds of hours over the last month and a half trying to fix this, trying to find someone with a modicum of common sense and the initiative to understand there is a very simple solution. I even contacted my local member who did what she always does, completely ignored me because she is too busy handing out pamphlets at the railway station and having her photo taken drinking cups of tea with locals.

A quick look on the internet shows many people are suffering from this same ridiculous government imposed rule.

Yesterday I was told that there is nothing more that can be done and they suggested I contact the Minister because it is his rule that is causing the problem. Since Malcolm Turnbull was the Communications Minister who imposed this idiocy, he will be my next port of call.

As Mark Day from the Australian said, “If “customer service” is really code for not giving a damn about the poor fools who believe they might live the advertised dream, perhaps MTM will come to mean Malcolm Turnbull’s Mess.”

So much for backing small business!

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  1. Rob

    Assuming you have optus 4g coverage at your businesd, just go to an optus shop and get home wireless broadband under your own name and home address then use it at your business. Considering my suburb will be the last to get it as it has a small population of elderly and low income residents, the best thing about the nbn is that it spurred optus on to create this product!

  2. Kaye Lee

    Rob, it isn’t the internet that is not working. We have a dedicated line for EFTPOS and security. It is a copper line. They disconnected it by mistake and now won’t reconnect it. We have two other lines, one of which is working for phone and internet. The other is our fax line – they stuffed that too so we are having faxes diverted to email but cannot send faxes. All they need to do is reactivate the EFTPOS and security line while we wait for them to fill the NBN order but they won’t because of Turnbull’s Cease Sales order which was approved by the ACCC on 26 June 2015.

  3. Rob

    If you have been provided with mordern gear i would hope that it has ip connectivity as well as dial up. If you arent sure i would ring up your bank and security company and check. They will be able to help. It may cost you some money but maybe you can use this as an opportunity to future proof your business and swap to ip or wireless solutions. You will have to eventually anyway as dial up is a gonner!

  4. Kaye Lee

    I have already done that. The bank sent out a technician and said it couldn’t be done. (Perhaps gear is not up to date – I don’t know?) The security firm said they would have to come and install a new system and then monitoring charges would be almost triple what we pay now.

    We may have to make a lot of changes but I just wish that, in the mean time, they would flick the switch and give me back what I had until the changes are made.

  5. FreeThinker

    Kay, your story, though specific in its details, has been and continues to be replicated pervasively across the country.

    Yes, the NBN is ‘ Malcolm Turnbull’s Mess ‘ absolutely.

    The ALP in the coming election campaign, could be bringing more attention to this.
    Something like this perhaps:

    The Labor Party conceived the NBN to be an innovative and vital piece of national infrastructure for the 21st century for our vast continent. Under the Abbott Government’s false economy model, and specifically under Malcolm Turnbull as Communications Minister, the LNP sabotaged Labor’s vision for the NBN, permitting it to become an impaired system, cobbled together, and hobbled by the remnants of 20th century technologies. In just three years of government, the LNP have achieved this. Meanwhile other nations have left Australia far behind on their implementation of fast, effective and accessible communications technology, now a necessary foundation for economic growth and national development.

  6. Terry2

    Hi Kaye

    By contrast, I had a potentially insoluble problem a couple of years ago during the Gillard era when Stephen Conroy was communications minister.

    Getting nowhere I wrote to my local – Independent – member who referred the problem to Conroy who wrote to me with a solution and the people to contact which resolved the problem to the extent that I was put on a priority list for NBN satellite.

    So, I’m in reasonably good shape now although the NBN ‘Sky Muster’ satellite is still not operational.

    A minority parliament can be very handy when you want things done !

  7. Kaye Lee

    Cory Bernardi complained on his blog he needed five visits from NBN geeks to get a fibre service running at his home.

    There are whole forums devoted to this topic. This is a typical complaint….

    “Hey guys,

    I moved into my new premises on the start of January 2014, I had an active ADSL service at my old address. When calling my ISP in order to get the relocation underway I was told that copper services in my area where being switched off on the 12/01/2014 leaving my only option as an nbn connection. My area is now in cease sale. This didn’t phase me as I was quite happy to utilise the faster speeds. I was first told my connection date would be the 24/01/2014. As this date got closer I recieved a message from my ISP advising further work needed to be completed by nbn co and that my appointment had been canceled pending nbn co’s response, they advised no appointment time could be given. As i was getting no where I filed a complaint against nbn co and was given a case manager, she advised me that there is a network shortfall in my area and that I would need to wait for this to be rectified, I was given a remedial days of the 24/02. This irritated me a fair bit as I work and study from home and need an internet connection. As nbn can’t service my are due to this shortfall I requested my ADSL be connected again, I was then told that my area is in cease sale as I am nbn ready an telstra won’t let me use the copper lines! Wtf??? This can’t be real, I can’t get ADSL because of my area being nbn ready but I can’t get nbn because of a fault that needs to be rectified?

    Going forward, the 24/02 past and nothing happened, I was then advised by my ISP that again further work had to be completed by nbn co and no appointment time could be given. I decided to call nbn co and was then told that the remediation date had now been extended to the 24/03?

    I know this date is going to come and go with no update. I’m now left paying $150 plus for telstra 4g top ups each month. I don’t even want nbn I just want a decent connection.

    Is there anything I can do about this cease sale? My property has an Ethernet port in every room, ADSL has been connected here previous to me moving in. The copper works and I’m sure there are other people in my area still using it. Nbn can’t provide me with a connection as yet so why can’t I be exempt from cease sale?

    Any help is appreciated”

  8. Jaquix

    Sympathise with you Kaye. Its so frustrating trying to deal with Telstra, my son works in IT and his office has a “Telstra chair”, a very comfortable recliner / massager, which they can sit on whenever they have to talk to Telstra! Also this cease sale is a typical Liberal type decision. Yet Turnbull continues with the innovation/ small business mantra. Good election issue to embarrass him? Wonder if you approach the Labor shadow minister, and Shortens office, if they could pick up the ball and run with it? Good luck and I wish you strength in getting this fixed.

  9. Rob

    You can buy a square card reader that connects to your smartphone at officeworks for $19 and it costs you 1.9% in merchant fees. There are no contracts or monthly fees so perhaps this would be a good stopgap until your line is fixed… https://squareup.com/au/pricing. In terms of your security i would suggest getting an ip connected system that can be self monitored, for less than $1000 you can buy one from companies like swann that will send you alerts on your phone, you can then log in to check the cameras. Check jb hifi i think they have them.

  10. Jaquix

    Kaye, Freethinker and Terry have just posted along same lines as I have. Perhaps you could start a blog/facebook page (quick!) For others to add their gripes. The pollies claim they use social media, give them something different to look at. Just about everyone has a Telstra/NBN story!

  11. Jaquix

    Kaye, the ABC24 is doing a segment right now about poor mobile phone coverage in outer areas, maybe you could interest them in your story?

  12. Kaye Lee

    Thank you all for your suggestions. Having already spent hundreds of hours on this whilst trying to run a business and do monthly business activity statements (the joys of being a co-opted tax collector) and cope with all that life entails (including three birthdays of parents in their 90s in the last few weeks), I am worn out and at the end of my tether. It infuriates me that there is a very simple solution that they refuse to adopt. And they want to talk about cutting red tape and increasing productivity. Bah humbug!

  13. Michael Taylor

    I can’t begin to tell you the hassles I’m having with this NBN bullshit. As each day passes I hate Turnbull more for what he’s done.

    Anyway, as an aside, I was listening to a podcast the other night and the host (in America) was talking to someone in Russia using Skype. The American commented how good the reception is, before saying that America’s fairly lucky to have fast internet, and the discussion turned to internet speeds. The bloke on the Rusdian end came out with something we should all be ashamed of: “I hear Australia’s got the worst in the world”. ?

  14. MichaelW

    Ah yes, the man who invented the internet. What a great job he is doing.
    I know six people who recently connected to the NBN, one said it was great ( node must be in the front yard.)
    Another thought his emails downloaded a bit quicker, four said it was rubbish with constant buffering.
    Go figure.

  15. Kaye Lee

    I just went to call Malcolm Turnbull’s office. Unfortunately, unlike my business, they are closed on the weekend .

  16. Kronomex

    A fair amount of the blame can be laid at the feet of that wrinkled liver face Rupert Murdoch. He doesn’t want the Not Bloody Now up and running because it would allow, gasp, shock, horror, competition to arise and interfere with his monopoly. And we all know that the LNP lives and dies by Rupert the Overlord.

  17. kerri

    The “Cease sale” order sounds like a way to keep out alternative suppliers whilst keeping us all within their control. It is a matter of time before this government sell the MTM to a private dealer anyway.
    Have you contacted Shine lawyers or Maurice Blackburn?? A class acion is needed if business is suffering.

  18. Jaquix

    Yes the “cease sale” directive has a very Rupert Murdochy stench about it. He is worming his way into everything, not only to the detriment of Australia, but also in the US and UK. Worse still, he has 2 sons in training to keep the empire going.

  19. kasch2014

    Hi – I have my own remote very rural access point, solar powered, fast and reliable (until Optus disconnected the Nowa Nowa tower where my signal came from to install the NBN for a while, but didn’t tell me) but it’s pre-paid wireless mobile and as such expensive. I enquired with the Telstra Drama team and the NBN direct, about connecting to my setup with an NBN plan (total hardware cost to me $70 for a 4G dongle) – but neither Telstra, nor especially the NBN people, will show any sensitivity or sanity in their approach to dealing with this setting. NBN would force me to use a very inferior Satellite service at great cost to all, because I am more than 14km from the signal source. I am currently receiving this signal strongly and clearly with my set-up via a yagi antenna and superb Ubiquiti Radio 2.4gz bridge to my house. But let not reality interfere with the actions of the terminally insane and corrupt who have been touched by the spirit of Stalin in their attitude. What can you do but fire this ignorant pack of idiotic turds? But will any government have enough balls to do anything useful from now on? – I doubt it.

  20. Jack Russell

    Vote Labor. Problem solved!

  21. Kaye Lee

    The ultimate irony….this is the latest post on my local member’s facebook page. I would comment except she has blocked me. Try clicking on the link

    Lucy Wicks MP, Federal Member for Robertson

    5 hrs ·

    We know that’s it business, not Government, that creates jobs.

    Sometimes Government can play a direct role – such as our major commitment to deliver 600 new Federal jobs into Gosford.

    But it’s the ‘coffee shop economics’, the flow on effects, and the hard work of our small business owners and employees who are the engine room of a strong economy.

    Find out how our national economic plan helps thousands of Central Coast businesses here: http://budget.liberal.org.au/smallbusiness

  22. oztechhead

    2 points.

    a. Seriously you read the Australian? -_-

    b. What were you and the rest of the country thinking would happen? Telsta has had a decade of practice in disavowing all responsibility for service based claims regarding data products (and thus letting Australians internet suffer with rotting copper in the ground).

    This is no thanks to the liberals during the Howard era, firstly privatizing 80.6% of the comms industry creating the monopoly that is Telstra and secondly never updating USO policy (probably due to some big fat telstra donations). As Telstra was a monopoly there was ZERO market competition to drive them to upgrade infrastructure and / or give a damn about customer satisfaction. Look at their CSG ffs, its still there black and white:

    “This means that non-voice faults such as internet access or fax faults are not covered by the CSG Standard.”

    “The CSG Standard does not apply to data products (e.g. Telstra’s Digital Data Services), customer premises equipment, customer cabling, payphones, and sophisticated business-oriented services, such as Telstra’s Centel, SiteLines, corporate virtual private networks and similar services. It also does not apply to mobile or satellite services, unless these are used to deliver Universal Service Obligation (USO) telephone services.”

    “We aim to promptly repair faults or service difficulties on your Standard Telephone Service and specified Enhanced Call Handling Features. Note that the CSG Standard does not cover non-voice faults or service difficulties such as modem and fax dropouts.”


    The only thing they have changed?

    “It also does not apply to activities past the network boundary point (NBP), namely, the first telephone socket, the network termination device (NTD) or the main distribution frame (MDF) where applicable.”

    Why did they append this bit? Because after the deployment of FTTP they had to accept some responsibility for provisioning and contention issues. meaning anything before the NTD is within their jurisdiction.

  23. Terry2

    September 2010 :

    “Tony Abbott has ordered Malcolm Turnbull to “demolish” the Government’s National Broadband Network (NBN) as he today brought him back to the Coalition frontbench to head up its communications portfolio.”

    At Nuremberg they said that the defence of ‘obeying superior orders’ was not a defence : Turnbull knew or should have known that to obey that order was not in the national interest.

    How do you plead Mr Turnbull ?

  24. doobasdad

    I listened to Turnbull on Hobart local radio espousing his “fraudband” and canning the real product. I knew we were in trouble. Then some 2 years later some digging equipment turns up outside and the boss says we are working on your “broadband”. FTTN. Where is the node I asked? Don’t get me started he says, “had it been FTTP we would have finished months ago”. This is a shambles.”. Much later another team begins digging up much of the same ground to concrete in, the node box. Several days later the box is set in place. No wires, no power. Thus no NBN. More teams to come. When will it be finished? Who knows if it ever will be. How good will it be? Well Telstra never repaired the crackling old line and since the digging team “repaired” my copper line they ripped up accidentally with a few twists, probably not much good. Eventually, we will see.

  25. Annie

    I feel for you. With my FTTP NBN, which was connected before the 2013 election, I only need one line for all those services and I’ve only ever had one outage. Eftpos is a super fast process.

  26. win jeavons

    I had a similar experience with dodo, They wanted to give me the NBN ( but since my son in the granny flat already had it I couldn’t ; got the runaround from the Philipines , and finished up with NO home phone .(their decision, not mine). Then dodo wanted to charge me for ‘breaking contract’ .Called the ombudsman and got land line from … Telstra ! Dodo has since asked my son to cancel his contract, because they can’t keep up. No wonder they call it ” fraudband ” . If this is the adults in charge, send in the children, at least they might be more truthful !

  27. Möbius Ecko

    It is a matter of time before this government sell the MTM to a private dealer anyway.

    Already happening, and you can find out the exact date as well. Turnbull has put a cap on the NBN spend, can’t remember the amount you’ll need to search for it, and no surprise that cap is nowhere near enough to complete the job by the cut off date. When that happens the article I read stated that there will be no choice but to let the remaining roll out to private companies.

  28. Kaye Lee

    The budget reconfirms the government’s capped investment, with $8.83 billion as the last tranche of funding to flow to nbn co. during 2016-17. This will force nbn co. to seek alternative methods of financing through private equity or debt financing to meet the future operational and capital expenditure required to complete the network’s roll-out.

    The company’s corporate plan outlines a $12 billion debt financing (downgraded to $9 billion in its 2016 plan) initiative, along with its forecast revenue, to finance its $57 billion roll-out cost.

    The company’s revenue has consistently fallen behind initial projections; the 2016 plan outlines a cumulative revenue of only A$3 billion over the 2015-18 period. This has only been exacerbated by further delays in the roll-out. Not connecting more customers leads to a failure to generate a steady stream of revenue.


  29. Zathras

    I’ve been connected to FTTN for a while now (after some hassles) and find it marginally better than ADSL2 so I have comparatively little to complain about.

    However I realise this will likely be as good as it ever will be and dread the day I need service for any faults.

  30. Graeme Henchel

    Mr. Fraudband ( to the tune of Mr Sandman)

    Mr. Fraudband you’ve screwed our dream
    Made the biggest mess that we’ve ever seen
    You lied with Abbott to get elected
    Made sure that Murdochs pay TV was protected

    Fraud man you’re Abbott’s clone
    Don’t have a vision to call your own
    What you’ve done is quite obscene
    Mr Fraudband you’ve screwed our dream

    Mr Fraudband you’ve screwed our dream
    Made the biggest mess that we’ve ever seen
    We wanted fibre right into the home
    We’ve got a nightmare from the twilight zone

    Mr Fraudband now you’re in charge
    You’ll screw your party and the country at large
    You only care about the top end of town
    You are no better than the clown you took down

    Mr. Fraudband you’ve been exposed
    A snake oil man with political prose
    Your lying makes me want to scream
    Mr. Fraudband screwed us (it’s so exciting)
    Mr. Fraudband screwed up our dream

  31. Jaquix

    Great job Graeme H ! Ive been collecting names commentators have given Turnbull, and your Mr Fraudband makes it 30 on my list, which I will post tomorrow. Good night Mr Sandman.

  32. Jaquix

    Here are the names Ive been collecting, that commentators (i.e. people making comments, not presenters on TV obviously) have labelled Malcolm:
    Turdbull, Turnbully, Turdtalk, Turnbott, Turdballs, Talkbull, Turnbland, Mal Conviction, Waffles, Truffles, Malky, TALCUM (my favourite), Cay Mal, Cayman Mal, Mal Content, Mal Adroit, Sacks of Gold, Member for Goldman Sachs, Member for Golden Fonseca, Merchant of Wentworth, Mal Turncoat, Mal Feasance, Mal Function, Maelstrom, Mal-splaining, NBN – The Turnbull Copper Notwork, Mal C’od-turn-a-bull, Allbull, Turdarse.

  33. Kyran

    Your tale of woe has reminded me of dealing with Telstra after they had been privatised. At that time, they sacked most of their technicians and set up a network where the technicians became subcontractors to Telstra’s clients to negotiate between the client and Telstra. Having had a succession of technicians through my then office to try and rectify the most basic of problems, the only consistency was the technician’s description of a Telstra bureaucracy concerned only with it’s own preservation and devoid of accountability. As my business used another telco, it was in Telstra’s interests to frustrate my dealings with my telco as Telstra was both the ‘mainframe’ owner AND a competitor to my telco. Conflict of interest, anyone?
    Fast forward twenty years and it is the same story. The gagging of Nick Ross was a precursor to the modus operandi of this current government. Keep them in the dark and feed them (turn)bull-shite.
    The delimiter website is informative in this area.
    From a recent article;
    “Support for most of the NBN model is being provided onshore in Australia. However, this week the Labor Opposition revealed that both the NBN company and Telstra itself were handing “copper assurance” matters off to Indian subcontractors.”

    “The job ad states: “The Manager Copper Service Assurance will lead an nbn team working closely with the Managed Service Partner teams in Melbourne, Mumbai and Delhi. This role will provide visible leadership in relation to the performance management for all aspects of inbound/outbound Service Management.””

    “The Indian managerial role will be required to establish a team to manage the copper assurance issue, including “creating methods and procedures for monitoring performance, reporting, root-cause analytics, workforce planning and crisis management”.”

    The article finishes with;
    What a f*cking joke. These jobs should absolutely be onshore.”

    Telstra, NBN offshoring copper support to India

    With regard to the NBN financing problem;
    “To fund the rest of its planned rollout through to 2020, the Budget notes that the NBN company is expected to raise debt from external markets of between $16.5 billion and $26.5 billion (with a base case of $19.5 billion) to complete the rollout of its network.”

    “Cormann stated that it remained government policy to cap public investment in the NBN company at $29.5 billion, and the Department of Finance revealed that it had brought in financial advisory firm Lazard at a cost of $500,000 to assist with determining how the NBN company could raise the rest of the money it needs.”

    “Cormann said: “The equity cap is in place for $29.5 billion’ our intention is for the NBN to source the remaining funding requirements by sourcing debt from external markets. We’ve raised that very clearly, and we believe, we’re confident that that will be able to be achieved.”
    However, the Minister added a rider: “We’re being open and transparent in disclosing that if certain things that we intend to happen, and believe will happen, don’t happen, then obviously we’ve got to make some further decisions.””

    You would have thought that the Government and the NBN company would have seen this multi-billion dollar black hole coming and would have done more work on this issue by now … or at least kicked Lazard into gear over the past six months that they’ve been contracted to examine the situation. The fact that they appear not to have done so is quite concerning, to say the least.
    Will the NBN company be able to afford to finish its network construction without extra government funding? Right now we simply don’t know.”

    Govt doesn’t yet know how to fix NBN funding blackhole

    Good luck, Ms Lee. I think Mr Henchel nailed it. I’m not sure which I’m more tired of. Being treated like a mushroom or being told they are feeding us ‘aspiration’ in the belief it’s better than fertilizer. Take care

  34. Kaye Lee


    My business is still without EFTPOS and security and I have just been informed that Telstra NBN have put a stop an any new orders/connections for the NBN as well as their cease order for any copper connections. Thanks so much Malcolm and Lucy for using us as your guinea pigs for your stupid f’ing nodes.

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