The Slingshot Experience Part 2

This was originally going to be a post about my experiences of switching my broadband from Telecom to Slingshot. I didn’t necessarily expect this to be plain sailing, as problems can occur any time, but I did expect to receive a broadband connection that functioned. Instead, the first post in this series ended up having to be posted from a work computer, and this post ended up being the first blogging I have done on my new TelstraClear connection. So what went wrong? Well, in fact, I don’t have any idea why Slingshot and Chorus were unable to provision a broadband service to my house. I just do know that I spent many hours on the phone over a period of about three weeks talking to the helpdesk. After that time I decided to investigate TelstraClear’s product offering because I live in the InHome cabled area. However, TCL’s record of the installation of cable in our area turned out to be incorrect, and I had to request a technician first come to the site to confirm that the little grey plastic box on the outside wall with Saturn on it did indicate cable at the address.

As it turned out, my chief objection to taking up TCL’s service in the first place, the cost of getting the cable into the house, didn’t really wash. Not only did Telecom charge me $99 to switch in the first place (to Slingshot), which would have paid most of the TCL cable charge, in fact TCL at present aren’t charging at all for connections, nor are they requiring minimum contract periods. So it would have been cheaper and less troublesome to go with TelstraClear in the first place. They also do offer an IMAP mail service which is one of the reasons I decided to dump Telecom in the first place, along with a host of other Xtra bugbears. It took me a week to check out TCL and cancel Slingshot’s services, and another week to book a technician to do the installation. On their HFC network, the modem that they supply is more or less an interface adapter to the cable and doesn’t have the useful features that most common Jetstream modems do, such as DHCP for connecting more than one PC. So I’ve ordered a D-Link router with a VOIP interface. The monthly fee on this plan is $55. That’s more than broadband added to a phone line, but as it is broadband without phone, it only costs me $10 to use Slingshot iTalk over it and I can keep my existing phone number. The VOIP router will let me plug in my existing phone and use iTalk without having to buy another phone, although I have successfully tested X-Lite over the TCL connection in the last couple of days, and have just used it to call Slingshot’s helpdesk.

So what happened? In summary

  • Telecom took a week longer to switch me than Slingshot indicated.
  • Bizarrely, I still had access to Telecom’s network for that week using my Slingshot modem with my SS login and password details programmed into it. The modem is obviously compatible with the ADSL service, but how it is that Telecom did not care about the difference in authentication, is very strange.
  • Dynalink could not tell me how to use the modem diagnostics to determine where a problem might lie, unless I was actually working on the modem right there and then. I couldn’t do this because I didn’t have a working phone connection at home. Points lost for Dynalink support.
  • Three weeks out, Chorus decided there must be a line fault and sent out a tech who indeed found something wrong with the line. Yet it was only a month or so ago that the last lot of repairs were made to the line. With the number of repairs that I have had done since I went on broadband, I wonder if my experience is unusual or if there are a lot of Telecom customers who experience repeated failures of their drop from the street.
  • In the end, I could not get working broadband from Slingshot/Telecom. To their credit, SS have waived the usual cancellation charge, and are crediting me with some of what I paid, whilst I am returning the modem using a prepaid courier bag they sent out. At this time, though, I’m unsure whether I will get a full refund including the Telecom transfer charge.
  • I remain a Slingshot customer on the iTalk service.
  • I’m a TCL customer again – as I was several years ago (Paradise and Clear). I was on dialup then, and never accessed broadband anywhere else before now except for the past two years on Xtra.