Bigpond customer signs up, soon to discover the trap

I got a system to fix today.

The system came from someone else, who gave it to someone else, who gave it to me.
Anyway, the description the person who handed it over to me said the owner described it as:

Tried to download a modem and it wouldn’t boot.

Interesting, I thought you needed an internet connection to start with before you could download anything, and the concept of downloading modems is new to me.

I assumed modem drivers.

Turned the system on, no video output, nothing. Went with the general rule: Unplug everything except essential (eg, pci cards, and other devices), and ended up having to remove the dial up modem, and AGP card that I had added to see if it was a onboard video issue.

It booted straight away. Installed dial up modem again, refused to boot. Problem solved, remove dial up modem, use as frisbee (or return to owner, as the case is).

Once the system booted, I was confused what the bag also bought with the system was for. Opened it, found this weird blue dvd like case, a small black SpeedStream 4200 ADSL modem with both USB and ethernet cables, assumably connecting to the same single machine, and a power pack.

Opened the DVD like case, and discovered the most fearful thing ever made.
A Bigpond Self Install CD!

Noooo.. I thought. You are silly. You signed up to Bigpond.

Anyway, I assume that was bought with it because they wanted it configured, as is obvious by the username and password written in the book for all to see.

So, I proceed with the configuration, and notice it wasn’t letting me access the modem via its IP,

I dig a little deeper, figure it has to be a firewall or service blocking it, after resetting the modem and still seeing the same results.

I see Sygate Personal Firewall. Find the uninstall for it, remove, bingo. Fixed. All works.

Use the PIK tool in the root of the CD to configure the device, and the job was done.

But, that’s not where MY job was to finish.

I found Excel on the machine, and a quick click over to Broadband Choice, led me on the fast track of creating a nicely laid out Excel chart, showing just how screwed you are with Bigpond using 3 GB down and 1 GB up, in comparison to other ISPs, whch offer faster speeds, and more data for the similar pricing (the monthly fee, anyway).

So, with this, I had a great idea. Save it on the desktop as “Bigpond – Important Information”, for “All Users”, that way it’s on everyone’s desktop, and they’ll just see how badly screwed they are, when the system passes hands again, back to the owner.

I figure, if Bigpond aren’t going to state exactly what the customer COULD end up paying (and this machine is still running Windows SP1, with Updates now set to Notify) for a months worth of internet access, I would.

In related news, another user signed up for the “Bundle” despite being told a lot of times: “Anyone, anyone, anyone, but BIGPOND!”. Doesn’t matter who you sign up with, so long as the name isn’t Bigpond.

Suggested Internode and AAPT. They ended up with Bigpond, on the 256k, 200MB plan.

The person in question was actually interested in taking up VoIP to save money on their phone calls, but now paying $60 a month is somewhat of a step backwards, considering $30 goes to the internet connection (and thats before they get charged usage for the VoIP calls), and the other $30 is going to the phone, could easily save $10 there by going to the HomeLine Budget plan, and using VoIP. But, on that 256k plan, you might find it cheaper using your land line, the usage charges could be incredibly excessive, to the extent that 10c call becomes a $5.00 or more local call.

Why on earth would someone not listen to that advice is beyond me, but in light of seeing TWO people in the same day take the bad plunge into Bigpond, I figure, its time to inform the masses.

On a automated phone system I have lines stating that plans provided do not include unfair contract terms like you will find with SOME providers, who want you to stick around for 2 years, and pay rates through the roof.

Also, I plan to design a comparison sheet and start dishing that out via email and on any PCs I fix, to at least keep them informed, and if anything, it’ll narrow down the costs for them, so they get some idea of just how “cheap” the “great australian company (not)” wants to give you broadband for.

The more people that can get a clear picture of just how bad Bigpond is, the better. The marketing and deceit needs to stop. They can’t be allowed to get away with influencing the decisions of the uninformed, or at least, not explaining what they are buying in detail. It’s not their job, 100%, I know, but if they want to be seen good in the public eye, they need to start presenting themselves that way.

Don’t Sign With Bigpond!

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