Suffering from a slow ADSL connection?

Are you one of many people in Woolgoolga and surrounding areas that suffer from a slow ADSL connection? Have you told your ISP about it and seem to be getting nowhere? Or are you one of many people (myself included) that has been a recipient of an “incorrect call out fee” from a technician that cannot find a fault?
I have found that in the local area this seems to be an extremely common issue, and the worst part is, the issue rarely gets resolved. This leads to the customer giving up and continuing to use the sub-par service even though they continue to be billed for it – so what do we do? In this article I hope to shed some light on the most common issues involved with slow ADSL speeds, what onus is on the customer and the technicians and what people can do about this.

While its true that we live in an area where ADSL speeds are not the best, this is due to a number of reasons – copper infrastructure, exchange capabilities, different Internet providers, etc… but when you experience a drop out or congestion on your service the first thing you do is call through to the “Technical support team”. They will then go through some basic troubleshooting measures with you, when that fails they will organise a technician to check the connection at the exchange and to what is known as the Network Boundary Point. The NBP is the point where the ISP’s infrastructure responsibilities are terminated and it then becomes the customers issue – so what happens if the Technician cannot find a fault within their radius of responsibility? You get charged accordingly, of course. This incorrect call out fee can range from $130 – $220, of which, you cannot possibly argue AND you are no closer to resolving the issue. Whats the next step?

Often, customers are so disillusioned by this result and simply give up, afraid that if they call again they will be charged another $130 or worse… so they continue to use a service they pay for each month but cannot fully utilise.

There are some measures you can take to help isolate the issue and will identify if a technician is required.
• Check your modem – I know this is the first point of call for all technical support agents, but the fact is, many issues originate with the modem. When you find yourself without internet, check what lights are on and the colour they are displaying – if something doesn’t look right, power cycle the modem ( turn the modem off for 10 second & back on again) and see if that reinstates your connection.
• Do you have a dial tone on your phone? A common issue in this area is what is known as a “ground earth failure” synonymous with bad weather, by picking up the phone and listening for the dial tone may help shed some light on your issue.
• Perform an isolation test – In a general household, there is a wall socket with an ADSL line filter which then has a socket for both phone and ADSL lines (from the modem) to be plugged in. If the internet goes down, take the ADSL line filter out of the wall socket and connect the modem directly to the wall socket. Disconnect all other phones in the house if there are multiple wall sockets. If the ADSL works, it may have been the ADSL line filter, or some other defective device that has been plugged in elsewhere.

I myself have been in a situation where there was a problem with my ADSL service (in the local area). When I got ADSL connected I was conducting speed tests and was achieving speeds of approx.: 700Kbps (not too far off dial up speeds). Obviously something was wrong, and after trying all of the above troubleshooting steps, I was able to ascertain that the issue was outside of my responsibility. The result – the line from the Telstra pit to my house was corroded and was replaced at no cost to me, as it was Telstra’s infrastructure at fault here – I now get speeds on average 10Mbps (pretty good for our area).

In conclusion, I hope this provides a little hope to some people that find themselves at the mercy of their ISP, and that there are measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of being charged exorbitant fees to have a service you pay for each month to operate suitably.

If you are experiencing these issues, and need some assistance or advice contact Valaxus – 1300 431 678 or vistit our office at 7 Bosworth Road, Woolgoolga.

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