Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Telstra- how could you get locked out of your own exchange?

Vodafone, you purchased a lemon!  On asking a Senior Manager at Telstra "I can't understand how you got locked out of your own Exchange Cabinet (for 1.5days)", the Manager replied "Its not the first time, and probably not the last time".  He went on to say "Last time a key broke off in the lock and we managed to get a locksmith in within a few hours", "we do have backup keys and processes".  He then went on to say "I'm not sure why we were locked out in this instance or why its taken so long to get the locksmith to unlock it (the exchange cabinet), I will be investigating to work through how this occurred". 

So this exciting incident happened to my Business Consulting and IT Company about a month ago.  I've had it sitting in my draft blogs while I have been touring around the country presenting for the past few weeks, pondering if I  should share my experience with the world.  I dropped it into my presentation on a few occasions to see what people thought,  based on their reaction, I most certainly need to share this with you!

Going back a month to March 2013....

We were  informed during the Telstra Customer Services process above, that on the Friday morning the locksmith was on site with a Downer technician and the locksmith had been 'unable to break into the lock' on Thursday and was there again on Friday still trying.  Subsequent to this, we were also informed by the Downer contractor that 'the door is not normally even locked". 

What sort of security is that to a Telstra Exchange housing precious CBD business connections!!!

 On Thursday morning, we were also informed that the Telstra Exchange cabinet was housed in a 'leased premise' and that they could not call the locksmith to break in, as this would have to be done by the building manager, who for almost the whole day on Thursday they had been unable to contact.  To rewind a few days prior to the lockout, on the 19th Feb, Tuesday this week, as the CEO of Business Mechanix, I lodged a formal complaint with Telstra our issue with constant broadband drop-offs and stressed that as an IT company this was critical to our business.  Most days over the past 3-4 weeks, we have been having micro outages on out ADSL broadband lines (yes, we do have 2 lines- both with Telstra), the Complex Faults team at Telstra  confirmed that they were seeing "at least twice per day up-to 2 minute outages on the line concerned".

We have been waiting now for nearly 2 days for Telstra to 'break into a premises' they seem to rent where the exchange is being held for a chunk of the Auckland CBD equipment.  This is important as changes on the port for our Internet connection with them to fix our issue need to happen inside this particular Exchange, inside this Telstra point of presence.  The odd thing was, when their 'sub-contractor' from Downer came to our business and then said he'd have to go out to the Exchange up the road, we were very shocked to hear "my key doesn't work, I've been locked out of the Exchange.  That was around mid-morning yesterday- Thursday.  Then we were told- 'we'll get a locksmith".  By afternoon it was "we're still not in- we have to contact the building owner and get them to change the locks through their locksmiths".  By evening it was "we've been unable to contact the building owner to get them to do this".  After coming in to work this morning to find out Internet was down AGAIN, we were then told late morning "the locksmith can't break into the lock". 

When I questioned the Senior Manager at Telstra about why there was only a sub-contractor on site with the locksmith and no Telstra rep, he went on to say "Our property people should have been there at a minimum'.

I then went on to ask him why when the Complex Faults Manager had given me his first name and mobile phone number (we'll call him 'Bob'), when I rang back through to customer services to speak to 'Bob's manager about the situation,which did not appear to be getting any better, they said 'do you have a surname', I said no I did not, but I have a mobile number.  She said 'there are pages of 'Bob's' here.  She finally found him and when I asked her for his surname she said 'we're not allowed to give out this sort of information'.  Which I thought was rather strange as 'Bob' himself had given me his mobile number. 

When customer services called me back she said 'Bob's managers not here today, I can get his manager to call you though.  Which he did, I also raised the issue of why I was not provided with Bob's surname.  I was horrified by the response.  It went something like this "We have pre-determined certified Pseudonym's for staff, the customer service team/ call centre can just give the predetermined Pseudonym out if they feel uncomfortable giving out others details".  So at this point in time, I'm not really 'feeling the love" from Telstra as I've just found out that 'Bob' may actually be 'John'.  I have also found out that this will have impact on perhaps of ever getting the matter resolved if I write a formal complaint an this will need to be decoded by someone on the other end who understands and can interpret Telstra's Pseudonym's.

I'd say if you are currently with Telstra and run on their exchange to have a good hard look and ask the question about where you are actually connected to.  Not something you would normally ask....but seriously- locked out of the building that hosts a critical part of their main exchange.  SHAME ON YOU TELSTRA.  This should NEVER happen and has been handled appallingly.  I have spoken to Telstra already myself earlier this week as the problems landed on my desk and have also been impacting my own work as I too have been unable to connect to the Internet.  I have been handed around the Telstra customer Service Team and have been dealing with a Complex Faults Manager- lets call him 'Bob'- who when I phoned and asked for his surname as I was told 'there are pages of Bobs's in our team'- when they did find him- through the mobile number he had personally provided me and I asked for the managers surname they said "we are unable to give out this sort of information' SHAME ON YOU AGAIN TELSTRA.  So much for a personal service!  When I finally called to asked to speak to 'Bob's Manager', I was told, Bob's manager is actually out of the office today, but his manager is in and he'll give you a call in the next 5 minutes

Telstra's complex faults team have told us "We can see drop offs at least twice per day for around 2 minutes at a time", so they know there is an issue of some sort.  When we have staff constantly running things up to the cloud, a 2 minute drop can cause major catastrophes, and already has were some of our developers have lost work during save processes and more.  We do have a second line which we are able to use, but we are already pushing our connections as hard as they can go.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that Ultra Fast Broadband only comes to our Nelson Street CBD address in June 2013, so that is not an option.

It concerns me greatly about the amount of calls and prodding we have had to make over this issue.  We have had 3 people from our organisation spending hours a day either restarting Internet Routers due to the line drops or simply sitting on the phone trying to get through to someone at Telstra to get the issues sorted.  Yes, we have been able to get through, but the issues have not been resolved.  This issue has been a complete debark able and after logging a formal complaint earlier in the week, its now Friday and given the locksmith has still not even managed to get into the Exchange, what hope do I hold out for things being fixed by Monday?  Not much.

Surprisingly, I got a call from Telstra to tell me 'someone is in your Basement now looking at the demarcation point".  I asked him if he was sure and he said, yes, there is a technician in your basement.  I told him that was a very unlikely even as we don't actually have a basement in our building.  At that point he said- I'll just check where he is.  He came back and told me, he was at the Comms cabinet in the ground floor.

I will say that the Customer Services Team did eventually come out on site, but by this stage, I was fed up.  Why should it take weeks to resolve these sort of issues!  They did offer to get someone to contact me about their Fibre solutions which I agreed to...that was nearly a month ago and I'm still waiting!  In the meantime, I was overjoyed to see the Ultra Fast Broadband being installed on my street.  I am so excited as we now have the option for decent fibre, although I have since been told although the cable is in the ground and attached to our building, we are in for an up to 6 month wait to be connected. 

Seriously, what is up with our Telco Industry in NZ!
When my UFB is installed and running, I may just post another blog about my experience cutting over to it!

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