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The Internet The Almighty Buck IT

Telecom Refunds $8 Million for Bad Service 57

Gearu writes in with an article about a hefty refund coming to New Zealanders. It opens, "Telecom New Zealand has admitted it made an error with its Go Large broadband plan and is to credit customers of the service. An internal technical review of the service, launched in October, identified an issue with how internet traffic was being managed on the plan. The Go Large plan was promoted as having traffic management applied to certain applications, but since December the traffic management process had affected all forms of activity. With around 60,000 customers on the Go Large service, the refunds were expected to total $7.5 million to $8.5 million."
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Telecom Refunds $8 Million for Bad Service

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  • If only they'd give us refunds for bad service here in the US...
    • Hey at least you have some competition. Here in Canada GSM is provided by Rogers. That's it. And your DSL? By bell [or a reseller which is the same thing].

      Go monopoly, the game the whole country can play!

      Tom
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by gripen40k ( 957933 )
        DSL is also provided by Telus out west, and they are slowly moving east as they expend their service. I'm not sure how they compare to Bell, but they aren't too bad in my mind. You could also go for cable, which is about the same price. Shaw provides it out here, not sure who does that in eastern Canada, but I know there has got to be one or two out there.
  • Somehow I doubt you'll ever see any of the major US carriers make such an unsolicited refund.
    • The whole thing is being investigated by the Commerce Commission, so, this is hardly an unsolicited refund. It's more of a pre-emptive refund to defuse things, really; while it won't excuse them from the investigation, it does take away a lot of the investigation's momentum.
    • by kaffiene ( 38781 )
      This *isn't* a random act of charity. The Commerce Commission has started an investigation into Telecom for misleading advertising. This is a preemptive act to stave off harsher penalties.

      Telecom have severely retarded internet growth in NZ.
    • There was nothing unsolicited about this! Thousands of complaints over many months. Many articles in the national papers about pathetic "Go Large" plan: many users experiencing 30 secodn delays before pages STAR loading, NO email, and transfer rates less than 10KB/s.

      No - there was a MAJOR move against Telecom for a long time. The Telecommunications ombudsman was involved, and so was the Commerce Commission by way of the Telecommunications Commissioner and his department.

      Telecom was FORCED into this. Nothing
  • I have to think about moving to NZ. Honest businesses.
    • Interestingly enough, I thought this was just another example of internet mob activism (which /. covered a few days ago). However,

      "In this instance with the Go Large plan our internal technical review showed we had made an error and we believe that we are doing the right thing by crediting customers."

      Internal review? I think you are right. But what initiated this review?

      "The Commerce Commission is also investigating after receiving complaints the service was not delivering what was promised."

      Hard to tell
    • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @01:45PM (#18134932) Homepage Journal

      I have to think about moving to NZ. Honest businesses.

      NZ Telecom and "honest business" don't really go together. Telecom have done everything they can to try and lock out (including quite an impressive history of dirty tricks) any competition and have held back broadband in NZ years and years (it's even worse than US broadband - until recently 256K connections were considered high end). Things are opening up to compeition now though, so I think Telecom is facing the fact that once competition becomes widely available they're going to face a country-wide customer revolt unless they can do something to try and restore some semblance of reputation. This move is basically that - the realisation that they better refund people for having fucked them over for years lest they all move to the competition.
      • The plan, Go Large, giving unlimited access was flawed from the start. I would get so angry when I saw the ads on television, they have a gimicky "Geek Squad" that rolls around in a pimped out van (that can fly, see Back To The Future 2) solving New Zealands internet problem. The thing was that Telecom has always been our problem.

        What really got to me was when they were watching a typical family on their view screen in the batcave, (Telecom and Big Brother are pretty similar actually) and they had maxe

      • Funnily enough, just prior to Christmas before all these Go Large problems started, I was getting 3mbit/s nicely. After Christmas I was getting only 700-1500kbit/s with big pauses in traffic. Watching online TV nearly impossible for the last two months! My phonecalls to Xtra regarding slow speeds were futile. When I suggested that I might switch to TelstraClear Cable Internet because of faster upload speeds and a much snappier web experience, the tech said that it was probably a good idea because Telecom ha
        • When I suggested that I might switch to TelstraClear Cable Internet because of faster upload speeds and a much snappier web experience

          If you like somewhere that you have that choice then you're very lucky. And you should do it. The 4 Mbps down/2 Mbps up service is the best value in internet in NZ today, assuming that you a) actually do use the internet, and b) aren't leeching things 24/7. Get the $50 10 GB/month plan if you're going to use anywhere between 6.7 GB and 16.7 GB a month. And note that that
          • Thanks for that. TelstraClear told me last time that I asked, that you couldn't get Cable TV or Broadband Internet without also paying for a landline with them. Maybe they should update their prices [telstraclear.co.nz]. I see that they now have a "PDQ" service that is not listed here.
      • I am one of those customers of Telecom NZ who will get the refund. I have been unhappy for weeks now after signing up for "Go Large". The original "Go Large" plan was accompanied by a document explaining their traffic management policies. The traffic management policy specified certain types of traffic that would be managed and other types of traffic would not be managed. Their error was to have managed all traffic, contrary to their stated policy.

        But instead of changing the service to match the policy th

    • I live in Auckland and moved from a 2mb down/192kb up plan to this go large plan. Actually I was given no choice as Xtra are no longer grandparenting any old plans. Effectively this meant a drop in upload speed to 128kb and potentially up to 6-7mb down. My experience of their service got progressively worse from day one - drop outs, horrific latency, it really was all over the scale, no consistency in speed or reliability and average speed was between 30kb to 1mb. I use vpn to work when I am on call but it
  • It is amazing how one can write whole page of text without any information (besides that customers on the plan will be credited).

    Go Large was promoted as having traffic management applied to certain applications, but since December the traffic management process had affected all forms of activity.

    Can someone enlighten me what was it supposed to do and how it failed?
    • by sokoban ( 142301 ) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @01:08PM (#18134668) Homepage
      It seems that they were trying to institute dl/ul speed caps on only certain types of traffic (probably BT, servers, and other P2P), but they ended up capping all the traffic instead due to an error.
    • Go Large was a DSL plan where for $50/month, you would have download speeds as fast as your line can handle and an unlimited monthly data allowance, however if users consistently exceeded x M/GB between y and z hours, (I forget the numbers as I was not a customer of the plan), then Telecom would request that you move to another plan which would make them more money (presumably).
      • Don't forget the crappy 128kbit upstream limit. Some customers didn't get a say, their old plans were discontinued and they were bumped onto the new plan. I lost my 192kbit upstream when I was bumped off my old plan onto the craptastic Go Large.
  • from the whoops-our-bad dept.

    Just out of interest, what is the etymology of "my/our bad"? Our bad what? Mistake?
    • Re:our bad? (Score:4, Informative)

      by torqer ( 538711 ) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @03:13PM (#18135540)
      google + keywords etymology my bad returns my bad/it's my bad - "It's my fault/mistake" (an acknowledgement of blame) - this is from US college/university campus 1980's slang, in which 'bad' means mistake or fault (that caused a bad thing), hence 'it's my bad', or more succinctly, 'my bad'. It's simply a shortening of 'The bad thing that happened was my fault, sorry'. The word bad in this case has evolved to mean 'mistake which caused a problem'. It's another example of the tendency for language to become abbreviated for more efficient (and stylised) communications. In this case the abbreviation is also a sort of teenage code, which of course young people everywhere use because they generally do not wish to adopt lifestyle and behaviour advocated by parents, teachers, authority, etc., and so develop their own style and behaviour, including language. For new meanings of words to evolve there needs to be a user-base of people that understands the new meanings. Initially the 'my bad' expression was confined to a discrete grouping, ie., US students, and the meaning wasn't understood outside of that group. Now it seems the understanding and usage of the 'my bad' expression has grown, along with the students, and entered the mainstream corporate world, no doubt because US middle management and boardrooms now have a high presence of people who were teenagers at college or university 20 years ago. I am also informed (ack K Korkodilos) that the 'my bad' expression was used in the TV series 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', and that this seems to have increased its popular mainstream usage during the 1990's, moreover people using the expression admitted to watching the show when asked about the possible connection. Additionally (ack M Woolley) apparently the 'my bad' expression is used by the Fred character in the new (2006) Scooby Doo TV series, which is leading to the adoption of the phrase among the under-5's in London, and logically, presumbly, older children all over England too. There is it seems no stopping this one..
  • - thats no joke - it actually is so - the single monopoly backbone provider (turkish telecom) has recently oversold adsl packages, and our download speeds are cut to 1/3 or so, with horrible 500 ms ping latency to europe. Yet, we still pay the same fee. If you go for a refund here in turkey, you get beaten and thrown out. Companies refunding customers is something that is not this country is accustomed to.
  • 8 million bucks. That should come out to just about .002 cents per person. Or maybe .002 dollars. Whatever, same thing.
  • Telco Refunds (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kawerau ( 1068076 ) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @03:33PM (#18135692)
    Please note the following is my personal opinion and the facts when they finally come out may be slightly different: Telecom NZ was originally a state owned entity that was deregulated. Once operating as a private company they aggresivly defended their monopoly position (they owned all the copper to residences) to achieve the best return for shareholders possible. They did this successfully and became the largest single company on the NZ sharemarket. In the course of their aggresive business tactics they did however do their best to extract maximum value from their customers with minimum outlay. In the area of broadband this meant placing the minimum amount of equipment in their exchanges to deal with the customer load. This was achieved through the sale of limited speed/bandwith plans and high but undisclosed contention ratios. Telecom also defended their policies to legislators using FUD and standover tactics, however late last year the government anounced that the telecom industry was going to me more tightly regulated and the local loop unbundled. As part of the process and to try and attract a greater future market share telecom announced several improved broadband plans, including the go-large plan which was uncapped on both speed and bandwith. Unfortunately in many areas this meant that with the existing high contention ratio many users slowed to less than dial-up speeds. After high profile complaints and reports Telecom announced the refund you hear about. This is not something i would have expected from the 'old' telecom and is an encouraging sign. However due to their history i strongly believe that if they did not make this move voluntarily then they would have been forced into something similar by the NZ commerce commision. This is, i believe, telecom making the best of a bad PR situation. For a good example of telecoms attitude to its customers and their feelings in return see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGrKLNnGfZY [youtube.com] Finally telecoms excuse for the problem was that traffic shaping bandwidth control that was supposed to be applied to P2P or similar loads was accidentally missaplied to all traffic. This will be proven i guess when they correct that mistake and we will see if users do get full speed.
    • by Zugok ( 17194 )
      Some other interesting details:
      • Theresa Gattung, the boss of Telecom recently announced her resignation
      • ADSL2+ will be rolled out next month in the district of Pakuranga; this is the residence of Opposition Shadow Minister of Communications, Maurice Williamson
  • by grolschie ( 610666 ) on Saturday February 24, 2007 @07:00PM (#18137318)
    The NZ Consumer Supreme "I really don't give an ass" [consumer.org.nz] Award went to Telecom's Xtra this year.

    Xtra have had a history [consumer.org.nz] of poor perforance.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

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