The time had come to re-contract my broadband. I wasn’t looking forward to it. I’ve heard too many horror stories about people who faced all sorts of problems whenever something needed to be done with their fibre broadband connection. It could be understandable if you changed provider, but even if you stayed with the same one, there could be interruptions.
I did want to consider jumping ship. Viewqwest was a candidate. SingTel was another possibility. I’ve heard no end to problems with My Republic, so that was out.
My current fibre broadband provider is StarHub. There wasn’t anything terribly wrong with StarHub, apart from my couple of complaints about IPv6 which, I guess, most people won’t to be too bothered about. But I wanted to keep options open. In the past, the dependency on StarHub TV made the choice simple. Nowadays, Netflix and other free to USA users movies and television options made StarHub TV less relevant.
For better or for worse, I ended up deciding to continue with StarHub. I saw a bundle that seemed nice. So I started calling StarHub to re-contract.
I think the worst part of this broadband upgrading experience is with trying to get in touch with StarHub people. You see, I called their number, and while I could get through, I couldn’t get to a human. Between three separate calls, I was holding for about one hour before I finally got to speak with a human.
I know what I want, and I’m sufficiently tech savvy, so it was easy for the StarHub staff to process my re-contract transaction. My biggest concern was, if everything will go smoothly. I wanted the assurance that everything will work exactly the same way as before, with the only change being that the fibre broadband speed will be faster (the new plans are all faster speeds than what I had previously). Yes, I was told.
Good. The appointment was set, just four days later. So fast! On my. I was expecting like one month later. Everyone seemed to need to wait forever. This was just fours days! Amazing.
I was asked to confirm the appointment, and warned about a big fee involved in any appointment changes. It’s because StarHub had to get OpenNet involved. Oh no! Why is OpenNet involved? It’s because of OpenNet that I understand most other people are having trouble with. Problems like the OpenNet person not turning up for the appointment, or that OpenNet rescheduled the appointment without the information being conveyed to the customer, or whatever OpenNet was supposed to do somehow did not work in the end, etc.
I was simply going to change my fibre broadband speed. It’s the same fibre, the same ONT, the same broadband service provider, nothing is changing other than the speed. Why, why is OpenNet required? If you know how our NGNBN works, I don’t see why OpenNet should be involved. Perhaps Nucleus Connect may be needed, but certainly not OpenNet. The StarHub staff said the process just had to involve OpenNet.
Nothing I can do. I just hope everything works smoothly on the upgrade day.
The upgrade day came. The Internet went down at 7am. It came back up at 9:30am. Nice. Really really nice. I was honestly surprised that:
- They started work so early. 7am! I thought people typically started work at 8:30am.
- The downtime was only 2.5 hours. I was told it would be down the “whole day”, and while I know that’s just a standard downtime window that StarHub staff are told to tell their customers, I didn’t expect things would be done quicker than, say, four hours.
I was at work, of course. I didn’t stay home. No one needed to come to my house to do the upgrade.
I did notice, however, that IPv6 connectivity was not restored, at least from the point of my pfSense gateway, until another two hours later. Small matter, no doubt.
My actual measured download speed, for a 500 Mbps plan, turns out to be only about 340 Mbps. Possibly, just maybe, my pfSense gateway is the bottleneck. I don’t really think so, though, because I had previously tested the pfSense box to do about 450 Mbps of throughput.
So all things considered, I’m happy that the upgrade went by smoothly. The worst part was waiting on the phone for a sales representative to become available.
[I’m also supposed to get a SIM card for the mobile broadband plan that’s part of the package. Over a week later, the SIM card has yet to be delivered.]