Bigpond is the biggest ISP in Australia.
Back in the 1990s and up to 2001, my ISP was a small company named Healey. They provided good service at very affordable prices.
Unfortunately, they first were bought by another ISP which then went out of business, and I was ‘left on the street’ needing to choose a new ISP quckly.
The reasons why I chose Bigpond at the time was that although I like to give the ‘small guy’ a go, I felt I had done so already and lost because of it. I wanted to have an email address that would be permanent. An email address that was to last for many years to come. Bigpond, though dearer, was affordable, and being ‘big’ ensured that I would not lose my email address because of bankruptcy or similar. They also were offering very good deals if I bundled my telephone, internet and mobile with them.
Email websites such as hotmail, gmail, yahoo mail, etc either did not exist or where in their infancy then.
4 years ago, when it was time to get a mobile phone for Eitan, the advantage of belonging to Bigpond’s parent company, Telstra, was not as beneficial as what was offered by its competitors. 3, for example, offered a very low rate, which included free calls between Eitan’s phone and mine, and that is when the weaning from Telstra/Bigpond began.
I have been reluctant to let go of Bigpond. The main reason actually was the initial reason why I chose them in the first place: A reliable email address that would not change. My fear of changing a relatively long time held email address made me procrastinate the decision. I know from my own experience, that no matter how often you are reminded and asked by somebody to update your address book with a new email address, it does not always get done.
Even if you do update your address book, Microsoft Outlook, for example, will still suggest the old address when you start typing somebody’s name in the To field.
Bigpond were extremely non co-operative concerning allowing me to switch to another ISP AND keep my old address, even if temporarily. Although my account started as a dialup account (Remember what that was?), and their dialup rates are in the order of AU$10 a month, my offer to keep paying that amount just for the email service was refused. They insisted that the only way to keep my email address was to pay in the order of AU$30 a month or more, which I did not find acceptable.
Enter iiNet’s agressive advertising campaign with the new (for me) concept of naked DSL.
I finally bit the bullet and took a slow and calculated approach to the change of address:
- I announced the change, and asked everybody in my address book to amend their address book and use my gmail.com address (email me for the exact details, if you have not changed it yet!!!!)
The reason for choosing gmail was that it is not ISP dependant (I have learned my lesson!).
I am following what I am doing in real life too: Use a post box as my mailing address instead of the residential address.
- For over a month I monitored the old firstname.lastname@example.org address, and sending a renewed reminder to those that still were writing to it. I ignored all of those messages that I considered to be spammy – Good riddance!
- Most importantly, I made sure to update all of my internet banking and related details to my gmail address. It is surprising how many passwords I had forgotten, and how useful it was to still have my old address available to receive the change.
- I repeated this process with any other sites that I have accounts with, such as E-bay, Messenger, Facebook, PayPal, etc. I really hope I have not forgotten anyone, as it will be too late now!
Once Eitan had finished his Year 10 exams, and did not need the internet anymore for study purposes, I initiated the switch to iiNet.
I was warned that the switch could take up to 21 days, and that there was a chance that during that period I would be without internet and without telephone. (GULP!)
In reality, the wait was much shorter. About 5 days all together. Not bad, iiNet!
We did have a few teething problems which were handled very professionally by their staff from a call centre in South Africa. It was fun listening to their strong accents coming all the way from Cape Town. What a difference to Telstra/Bigpond where I consider it so annoying to be greeted by voice recognition software that somehow has difficulty with my voice or my English, and which has me screaming into the phone with ‘I WANT TO TALK TO A HUMAN BEING’ only to be advised that ‘I was not able to understand your response, please try again’ or something similar.
To make a long story short, here is a summary of why I am better off
|Before (Bigpond)||After (iiNET)|
|Monthly Allowance||25GB||30GB + 30GB off peak (to be changed soon to 50GB + 50GB, albeit with a redefinition of off-peak)|
|Monthly telephone rental||$30||$0 – Switched to naked DSL and the calls go via VOIP|
|Monthly Broadband fixed charge||$79||$79|
|Local calls||Charged at $0.20||Free|
|Home Messaging||Charged||Free – Voice messages are actually emailed as .wav files to be received immediately by my iPhone! This was an unexpected great extra!|
|Online Tools (to check your current usage)||Delayed information, probably have to wait a few hours to get your exact usage||A much better interface, which lets you know nearly immediately how you stand with both your peak and non-peak use|
|Level of Broadband service||I can’t complain. Required very infrequent router reboots||Not so good. I have had to reboot the router occasionally.|
|Help Desk||Voice recognition. It takes quite a long time to get to talk to a human being.
Often the person you are talking to, will put you back on hold when you have to wait for a specialist. Long wait for your turn
|Immediate human being.
You call, leave name and number and they call you back when it is your turn!
|ADSL||ADSL 1||ADSL 2(FASTER!!!)|
In short, for the time being, I am very happy with my decision to switch!