Thinking of switching ISPs - seeking advice


#1

G’day all

We are currently with &&&& and have been happy customers of theirs for many years. No nonsense, no frills. The NBN is at least 2 years away from my country town in w Vic. We are nudging our 100GB/month limit regularly now. Telstra has just rung with an Internet/home phone bundle with a 200GB/month limit and a few other nice additions. The cost of the switch will be very slightly more than our current phone/internet combination. We said we’d get back to them in a few days.

So - is Telstra internet well regarded? Our current &&&& service is quite fast ADSL2+ - certainly fast enough for streaming movies from the Apple store. Can I safely assume our speed will be the same if we switch? We are not yet ready to get rid of our land line phone by the way. Maybe in a couple of years.

All advice most welcome.

Cheers
Steve


#2

Hi Steve, I am in little ol’ Tassie and operating on ASDL2 with Telstra. The speed is good for streaming movies.
I have had some differences with Telstra but they are good on fixing things up…
I don’t expect BB for about 12 months so in a similar boat you. Tales of early 100% NBN in Tassie are not true because the Government can’t be seen to be giving one state a bonus.
Note that Telstra are gradually improving their plans due to competition so a short wait won’t hurt you…


#3

In country Victoria Telstra where there are no 3rd party DSLAMS or naked DSL plans available and major competing ISPs only offer their ‘offnet’ (or similar) Telstra are generally competitive with the other ISPs.

I shifted from Telstra to Internode years ago but then they were bought out by iiNet, I don’t mind iiNet so when my contract came due I shifted to iiNet and things stayed like that for a few years.

Then iiNet were taken over by TPG so we looked at the alternatives and ended up shifting back to Telstra. The reliability has been excellent and the extras included are useful (to us anyway). Unmetered BigPond movies and unmetered Presto mean we don’t have to worry about how much we use them.

You can’t assume that all websites will be the same speed from ISP to ISP but Telstra don’t generally under provision (unlike certain budget ISPs).

You can be unlucky and end up on a congested exchange or RIM but that’s uncommon in the country.

I never thought I’d be saying this but with alternatives like Dodo and iPrimus and TPG we decided Telstra were the ‘best’ option.


#4

Thanks Colin and Geoff. Your feedback is very helpful. I suspect we will jump ship to Telstra. Any other comments still welcome.

Cheers
Steve


#5

Hmm, Exetel and Telstra would be my recommendations. just be careful though, Telstra can be a pain in the arse if you go in blindly. I’d recommend a 500GB monthly quota and that should have you covered. I’d also suggest taking up cable if it’s available and switch to NBN when that’s available.


#6

I can only get Telstra or Telstra resellers where I am (a suburb of Newcastle). I’ve been with Telstra itself in the very early days when they finally let us off 28.8 dialup (only 2005!) then TSN (dreadful) then Internode (great, but expensive) and finally Exetel. Many people have had issues with Exetel (read in Whirlpool) but I must admit, apart from them changing their plans like other people change undies, I’ve had no issues. I’m on a grandfathered plan (no idea for how long) and am paying $69.90 for 500GB plus phone (no included calls but I use VoIP anyway) - sadly, I was not able to choose NOT to take the phone with them at the time, I think they now allow you to keep your phone with whoever. Whilst my connection is not the fastest possible, its reliable and thats all I need.

If I had to choose another provider at this stage it would be Telstra itself. I’m tending to stay under 200GB of my 500GB (not by design, thats how I’m using it) and the telstra offering is inclusive of local calls if you take the bundle. I’m staying with Exetel for now, because of cost.


#7

Have not been with Telstra in the past so cant comment on them. Internode however has seemingly gone down hill fast in the last year or 2 :confused:


#8

If cable is available, go with that. However if you are in a rural town, its doubtful.

ADSL speeds are usually effected by distance from the exchange and line condition. In most cases, performance between ISP’s will be very similar.


#9

Internet (pre NBN) can be a tricky beast. While it’s not going to be applicable to you, get Cable if you can! Why someone living in a cabled area would get ADSL instead is beyond me, although I will concede that a congested neighbourhood and a close exchange could make ADSL the better option. But I digress.

As has been said, with ADSL your speed is down to line length and line quality. All things being equal it doesn’t matter which ISP you’re with the line will make the difference about 90% of the time to the speed you will get. The further you are away from the exchange the higher that percentage is going to get since the line will be what slows you down.

If your local exchange is over subscribed (ie too many people crammed onto one provider) it can go to hell very quickly. Usually Telstra have better investment in the exchanges so have better capacity AND being the “premium” priced offering tend to have less congestion (vs the cheap companies with little investment and $10 unlimited plans who all the heavy downloaders flock to).

BUT, and about 99% of the reason I moved back to Telstra until recently was that they own(ed) the copper lines. If you have a problem with the lines and you’re with anyone else they would have to log a call with Telstra to come out and fix the lines. Worse when I was with Exetel (who were an Optus reseller) and they would ring Optus who would in turn ring Telstra who would send out a technician. By cutting out the middle man and moving direct to Telstra I felt like I got far more attention and care in actually fixing things properly.

Of course if your lines are good and you don’t have issues it shouldn’t matter who you choose to go with.

NBN sort of levels the playing field with NBN Co owning all the infrastructure and everyone (including Telstra) reselling the same thing. This makes the choice more about price and inclusions rather than worrying about if it will work properly (contention issues aside).

tll;dr Telstra are probably the best option albeit the most expensive.


#10

Agree - if you can afford go Telstra especially for cable. I’ve used both Telstra and Optus for 100mb cable and although Optus has unlimited, at peak times Telstra remains faster than Optus.


#11

Cable is a much harder decision, yes Telstra is far more likely to be better for all the same reasons I mentioned above, but when you take out the middle man problem of ADSL (ie Optus own their cable too) it’s down to your neighbourhood.
I understand that there are horror stories on Optus Cable but in my current (soon to be old) place I can get Optus and Telstra cable so had to make a call on which to go for. (Although interestingly today they say I can’t get cable… strange)

At the time Optus was $145 / month on their unlimited + FetchTV + All phone calls + month to month + speed pack with free install and free modem. Telstra wanted $170 for 500GB + unlimited calls + speed pack but wanted to charge for the modem and install and it was tied to a 24 month contract, something which I didn’t want to do knowing I’d be moving in 12 months (although I’m sure I could have talked them into transferring it to ADSL or whatever if the new address didn’t support cable).

I figured for less money than Telstra I could get free install and modem and give Optus a bash and if it really sucked I could ditch it. It didn’t suck, in fact it has been pretty good. For the first 6 months I rarely speed tested below 90Mbit but lately it’s dropped off a bit more. To be honest I rarely notice unless I’m actually running a speed test and it’s not nearly so much of an issue to make we want to switch. Also a couple of months in they offered a $90 / month plan with everything I already had (but on a contract)… so $170 on Telstra vs $90 on Optus…. It would be hard to justify almost twice the cost unless the service REALLY sucked. Give Optus still offer a month to month option I’d suggest people try it out considering the savings.

I’m moving in a couple of week and the new place only lists Optus Cable as available, which is fine. We will just have to wait and see what the new neighbourhood is like as well as what Optus are like with their relocation service. Fingers crossed.


#12

Don’t forget that in 2016 NBN takes ownership of both HFC networks, and they’ve announced plans to upgrade to DOCSIS 3.1 (theoretical maximum 10Gbps) by the end of 2017.


#13

Mum’s in the bush and I recently connected her to iiNet. There are no naked plans available where she is, and since she had to pay for a phone service it worked out a much better deal for her with iiNet. She gets a solid 22,000kbps which I am pleasantly surprised by and she can stream pretty much anything she wants just like any city slicker can.

The problem with ADSL is everybody’s experience is different because of numerous factors, most of which have been discussed above.

For my own home, I’ve got Telstra 100Mbps cable. I switched a few years ago now from Optus because they went downhill fast at peak times, so much so I couldn’t reliably use the internet. I’ll be happily keeping my grandfathered Telstra pricing until they pry it from my cold dead hands.


#14

According to the latest NBN info release my new address is scheduled to start NBN-ification in H2 2018… which is the last date available in the 3 year plan. So IF they run on time I might shift to NBN sometime in 2019… you know… pending changes to the roll out plan, changes to government or the whole project just being shelved :open_mouth:


#15

Thanks again everyone. As far as I know we don’t have the cable option here and the NBN doesn’t begin rolling out until Q1 2017. Nothing I’ve seen in the comments have put me off switching so if they can assure us our speed will be maintained I reckon we will switch to Telstra until the NBN is available. How long before we start nudging a 200GB limit I wonder.

Cheers
Steve


#16

I doubt they will guarantee anything but will use words like “it should be ok”, “it’s down to many factors”, “we offer up to”… Etc

Reality: it should be fine since the same physical line and all, but sometimes shit happens when people touch things on our crappy old copper networks… Thanks Murphy.


#17

I’m with you Steely, I have the Telstra cable100gps service as well, wouldn’t go past that plan. I regularly get 115gps, so I am actually frightened of the NBN, which I believe can be slower, as far as downloads go.

BTW I’m on there 200gb plan, which they have increased to 500gb. I also have been out of contract for 18 months.

So Telstra for me.


#18

So as the originator of this thread I though I’d let you know how our switch to Telstra is going.

In a word - badly.

We started with them on the 12th Dec and all went well for a while. Over Christmas we had 5 adults all using multiple gadgets and it kept up fine. I signed up to Stan and we streamed kids shows without problems. Went to Melbourne for a few days after Christmas. Came back to dialup speeds. Before anyone asks we have not been shaped. According to Speedtest.net we are getting between 0.3 and 0.7 Mbps download.

Went onto the Telstra 24x7 help chat thing and was told there was work going on in our exchange that would be finished by Monday (4th Jan). So waited until Monday night but there was no change to our speed so back onto 24x7. Went through all the isolation tests etc. Moved modem to different phone points, direct connected computers - you name it we tested it. Nothing helped. Then we lost the connection to 24x7 after 3 hours and the chap I was working with never got back in touch despite having my phone and email address.

Yesterday my wife repeated the exercise and after about 3 hours was told to hang on the line for a 2nd level techo. That never happened. So last night after work I tried for a third time, repeated all the tests and eventually got the 2nd level techo who was able to rule out problems at our end and organised a visit from a local techo - but not until next Monday.

Aaaargh!

Can anyone suggest why our speed would be cut from very good to dial-up while we were away? It has to be at the exchange end doesn’t it?

If the person coming next week finds the fault is with our equipment we will be expected to pay a service fee.

Cheers
Steve


#19

Congestion on the exchange, probably. It’s not always you, or them. Remember it’s school holidays, the weather is utterly shitful, and everyone is online.


#20

ADSL is a bit of a picky bitch. It wants good copper to get good speeds, line length + joins are usually the major influencer on speed and stability. Yes congestion can cause major major problems, but the conntection itself should stay up and connect at full speed (in the modem stats) just the throughput will suck terribly.

I would assume if it was a larger scale exchange issue they would know and wouldn’t send a tech. (Also their remote testing should give them connection stats and the like… so if the connection itself isn’t working they know).

After all too much engagement with some of the techs over the years I’ve heard lots of things. The short version is they will come onsite to fix problem A, test, confirm it’s all working and walk away…
BUT… If the act of picking up the cables and checking them happens to knock out a pair for other customer, they have no way of knowing… until that customer rings up and complains and the process starts all over again. You can end up in a situation where customer A and customer B bounce back and forth with issues as they fix one then the other (breaking the alternate each time).

Make sure you take lots of notes, write down names, dates, times and anything that is said. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on what they mean or what they are planning on doing (and write all that down too).

The techs are usually pretty good (in my experience anyway), just offer the bloke a coffee or cold drink and be nice, after all, he’s there trying to help. You can be about 90% confident it’s not an issue in your house if a full isolation test (read nothing connected but the modem with no filters) still fails to connect.