ABC Tower   ABC Nightlife 2 June 2006

Tips & Hints

Posted 5 December 2006

The November Nightlife show looked at Regional broadband and Internet complaints.

The most common complaints we receive are about Internet connections. The Internet can be time consuming and frustrating at the best of times. Even more so when the ISP makes mistakes.

For Australians, the Telcommunications Industry Ombudsman is the organisation responsible for phone and Internet complaints. Each year in their annual report they give a detailed breadown of the complaints they receive. In 2005-6 they received over a hundred thousand complaints about Internet providers.

Of these complaints, nearly a third were about customer service and quarter about billing problems. The fastest growing area of concern was contract disputes. This is consistent with the complaints we hear on the Nightlife.

Because these complaints are so common we have a checklist of how to deal with an Internet dispute. The TIO will not accept your complaint until you have first tried to resolve it with your provider. Most decent providers will try to resolve issues before it gets to that stage.

Another area of complaint for Internet users has been the slow roll out of broadband in the bush. On the last spot, we asked listeners to send comments about their regional broadband issues. Their responses were about the trouble they had getting access.

Because of the distance limitations of ADSL and the scarcity of cable Internet outside the capital cities, there are a number of alternatives that rural users have to consider. Radio, satellite and mobile phone are the three main alternatives. Each have their disadvantages which we will discuss on another web page.

Another big area of concern is cost. Sattelite and radio setup costs are huge unless subsidised by the Federal government. While Telstra's NextG network offers greater coverage, the data costs can be quite excessive.

Streaming costs

John called about the cost of streaming media. The amount of data varies with what's being broadcast (talk, music, video, etc) and the quality (the better the quality, the more data). A typical ABC radio online broadcast is around 24Mb an hour and a reasonable quality video stream is 120Mb an hour.

If it's within your Internet usage plan it's free but if you are being charged for excess that hour of ABC radio will cost you $3.60. This is why we strongly recommend avoiding plans that charge for excess usage. If you do stream broadcasts then you need to choose a plan with a sufficient data allowances for your needs.

Web site blues

Websites not resolving properly are always a bane for users. We find all manner of problems with poorly designed websites. If you find a website will not resolve we would suggest trying a different web browser, disabling pop-up blockers, uninstalling security software and updating your windows scripting host.

If nothing works, you should talk to the web site administrator. Surprisingly we find many are less than helpful. If you cannot get a page to work you might need to take your business elsewhere.

Automatic Updates

Tony called about his Mac prompting him about updates. All users, Windows or Mac, should regularly update their system. In the case of the Mac you'll need the root password, which is why the Mac doesn't get the spyware rubbish we see on Windows computers.

As usual our apologies to the many callers who couldn't get through. The next Nightlife computer spot will be at 10pm December 15 and we'll be looking at Windows Vista and the Christmas shutdown. If you"d like to be kept up-to-date with our schedule then subscribe to our newsletter
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