On the nbn

How nice to be on the internetImage: kqed Arts

I transitioned smoothly to the nbn yesterday even though my phone line had gone down 3 weeks before. I survived those weeks on mobile phone and connection. It may just have been they got all excited and switched the copper wire off too early. I was grateful to my isp for organising an earlier changeover date and yesterday it went well. My isp had got my modem out to me early so I could read all the information about setting it and the FTTN connection up. It was so good to get rid of all the splitters, cables and filters and just have a simple wall connection . I chose to keep my cordless phone to connect to the VOiP because it has 3 handsets. The email I received to tell me the switch had been made and I could now connect also told me it would take 3-7 days to port my home phone number. Not so. It took 12 hours. That’s service.

So what did I do to get it all going?

I read the booklet and googled pictures of how to connect the modem which I kept on my iPad. I set it all up the day before and double checked I had connected it properly.

I kept a spare phone handy in case my cordless was not going to work. I plugged the cordless into a separate wall socket and not the power board I have the computer and modem connected to. I used the phone cable supplied for the modem and a new phone cable for the cordless phone just to be sure.

Yesterday morning I switched the modem on and left it for half an hour to sort itself out. I then turned on my computer which I left on for half and hour with the modem so they could work out how they were going to talk to each other. There was plenty of activity on the ethernet line. I logged into the modem and really liked the clear interface so I could locate everything I needed. I used the set up wizard and filled in the details. I had no VOiP password at that stage. That came in an email when the number was successfully ported.

I checked the live feed of what they were doing and by sheer luck happened to see an nbn van go past my place probably to the street pillar near me. I rechecked the details on my modem and a couple were not right so I changed them. I made sure I had all the passwords and details written down on one page so I didn’t have to keep looking for things. I didn’t get connected  so I shut everything off, booted up the modem and let it settle in and then booted up the computer. Old rule – modem first, computer second.

I was on the Net! I left it on all day and there wasn’t a problem.

This morning I got the email about my phone number being registered and initially I couldn’t get the phone to work. I filled in the password again, shut everything off and booted up the modem and then the computer. Bingo. The phone works!!

Currently I am finding my computer is happy on the nbn. So are my phone and iPad. I haven’t had any problems with my devices. I think it is really important to be patient and very important to read all the instructions. Sometimes you just have to wait and try again. I think it also might be a case of how many people are trying to get a new connection going at the same time as you so I figure getting it all up and running early and just leaving it helps.



To nbn or not to nbn…

dial up

Image: citethisforme

I can remember that real feeling of achievement in the 90s of getting past the quirky and unforgettable ringing tones of the dial up network and actually getting online in the first try. I can remember watching paint dry too as the pages would load one line at a time or I regretted deciding to go to another site and inflicting the same slow load up process on myself. I can also remember days where it worked perfectly fine . The more people who joined the online world, the better the connections became and we reached the hay day of broadband where everything was going so well. Those who have experienced online services in that era will be disrupted and flummoxed with the process we are currently going through of rolling out the fibre connections.

In many ways we are back to the 90s. We don’t have enough people connected, we are still rolling out cables and connections and we are running mixed wires and hardware. Telecommunications people will start gathering data and start noticing what we need in real terms and make adjustments. Until now it has been a best guess I would imagine.

We need to do our homework. We need to be aware of what we need and what suits us. It is called the National Broadband Network and so it is for us to work out as a nation what best suits us and to work towards that.

Some of that is being aware of what plan you need, what access you need , what devices you have and then how you intend to use the service. Some have mobile internet access, others adsl2 and others cable. Some a mix. Some are just going on and off the internet. Some are consuming vast quantities of video and sound streaming. Others are playing about on social networks and then there are those who want to do a bit of this and a bit of that. There are then big , and important uses for medicine, industry , farming, business and so on. We are not all the same and how we use the net is not the same.

You need to look at what you have and what you do with it. How much mobile usage do you need. Do you need significant data as well as talk and text? Do you want to stream videos? Music? Are you using big databases? Are you using a smart TV?Your isp account page will have all that data for you. What do you use in a day? What do you use in a month? How much data do you need for your biggest usage in a month?

Small internet users can probably manage on a mobile plan by using their phone as a hotspot or using a mifi. I am currently running of my mobile phone hotspot. It works well. I need more data than on a mobile plan , though.

Copper wires are going to go. Landline phones are going to go. Have you got security devices for yourself and home connected to your landline? You will need to ensure those devices can move to a fibre network smoothly. Once the nbn is in your area then you have 18 months before the copper wire is disconnected.

You need to have conversations with your isp about the best plan for you. You may not want a bundle with sport and Fetch TV. You may not want movie streaming. You might want a lot of bandwidth and speed for gaming. That’s actually better on a cable network. You won’t need the highest speeds if you are not doing video and audio streaming. I don’t use the net for entertainment and so I don’t need the fastest speed on the best plan. The isps have been coming out with a better range of bundles. We all have different needs and they are starting to work out what we need because they can see our usage and they can talk to us. The feedback loop is alive and well.

For a while it will be a problem. Until they get more fibre connections going then it will be like dial up. If you are on a fibre connection with gamers and video streamers then there will be good and bad connection times. It would affect places where people go for holidays. The locals will start having internet problems as soon as the gamers and streamers arrive on holidays to chew up all the bandwidth.

For a while , until we are connected and we are running the right hardware for what we want to do , there will be issues. We shall keep talking to each other. The data will keep coming in and our telecommunications people will work magic and we’ll be back into sound connections. Until then we have to own the problems and share information.

Look upon it as a continuous improvement learning model where we are all responsible for how quickly and efficiently we can get our high speed services up and running. Our area has had local meetings so information can be shared. That’s a good idea , especially for people with medical issues which require reliable connections. I am looking forward to being connected on Monday and learning all about it. I have sorted out my needs with my isp, I have sound equipment and I like an adventure.

Call centre standards

Is this what we have come to? Call centre staff wanting to be mean to us and we want to be irritated  by and mean to them? The comments under the clip are just as revealing. We have done this to ourselves. We have allowed technology to run a system which is not suiting either side in many instances. Some companies and organisations have very good and effective call centre procedures so everyone is happy . Others do not. Apparently there are no call centre industry standards and that is maybe something we should be looking at. ContactCentreCentral has an article about the myth of call centre standards:

“I wish such a formula existed. I even wish there was a standards body that published verified performance measures.  But there isn’t.  And there never will be. We refer to the contact centre as an industry, implying consensus and uniformity where it doesn’t really exist. The reality is that each contact center is unique in terms of the value it provides to the enterprise, unique in terms of the skill and knowledge of the management team and unique in terms of the centre’s culture”

Talkdesk has some benchmark statistics which would only come into play if the organisation or enterprise has competition. In that case , what appears to be happening is that people are taking the solutions into their own hands and that might work initially but then it will create yet another bottleneck as companies and organisations address the change in client behaviour. Britain has been working hard to address call centre issues because it is costing people time, money and their health. The  DailyMail published an article about what health issues lengthy call waiting could  possibly create. That is something which needs to be researched , established and dealt with in a society which rates work/life balance and wellbeing highly. MyfamilyclubUK has some interesting work arounds to avoid long call queue waiting. I certainly have never forgotten the time I was on Twitter while I was waiting in a call queue and I actually solved my query on Twitter with the help of that company while I was still waiting in the queue. I stayed in the queue and encouraged them to keep providing that social media service. Emails /voicemail only work if you get the call back or a response to your email which helps solve the issue. People are in call queues because they need to solve a problem. If it can be resolved off the phone then that will save time and costs. I am also in favour of the call back option. That works for me. I am happy if I know that I’ll get a call in an hour or whatever they say. That is helpful and I can get on with my life. Talkdesk also has an article on improving call queues. They believe it comes back to staffing but that may not be the case when it comes to an emergency or an unexpected set of circumstances which then has everyone on the phone. Call abandonment is often how companies judge the success of their call centre system. If, however, it doesn’t matter how many people hang up because they cannot get through , then that is not addressing this call centre problem. I think we do need to look at better ways of managing this. I think we need to use our technology options to help us. We can use texting, voicemail, email, chat, phone calls, social media. There are so many ways we can communicate these days. We need to clearly identify the issues and then clearly develop ways of stopping call queues of 20, 30 or 40 minutes. If the call is costing nothing, that is not an issue. I know people who leave the call on speaker phone and then jump to answer it when it’s their turn. Some numbers are expensive to call because of mobile phone costs or the cost of the number being dialled. I am not sure what holds places back from using the toll free 1800 numbers. In terms of social justice and equity it’s a sensible decision. I’d like to think we’ll resolve this call centre craziness we’ve brought upon ourselves . We need to start that conversation now.

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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