Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath: Fast broadband? Sorry, you're breaking up

Sometimes even a simple job with your telco can turn ugly.
'Being in a friendly old-fashioned unlimited ultra fast fibre broadband relationship makes me happy', says Matt Heath. Photo / 123RF
'Being in a friendly old-fashioned unlimited ultra fast fibre broadband relationship makes me happy', says Matt Heath. Photo / 123RF

I recently broke up with my long-term telco. It hurt. This is an old fashioned tale of ultra-fast unlimited fibre broadband heartbreak.

When I got my first cellphone they were the only choice for me. The "cool" one. Things flourished into broadband, landline and then one night there was a knock on the door and we moved on to digital TV too.

I never had a complaint. It all went so fast. Then two weeks ago everything went horribly wrong. I had to move house and wanted a new fibre connection. Chorus had their little white box on the wall - all I needed was a service provider. I went straight to the one I knew and loved. Heartbreak followed.

Ten days of calls, hours on hold listening to Lorde, desperately trying to get a connection. They just didn't seem keen anymore. Every time it was going to happen it didn't.

Transferred over and over to the same departments, same security check, no info passed on and making no head way at all. After all those years together it was like they'd never heard of me.

Everyone was nice and promised to follow up but couldn't. A couple of text messages went nowhere. It was like they were shackled by their own system. Unable to take the new business I so passionately wanted to give them. I'm ashamed to say I got angry once or twice, raised my voice at people whose fault it wasn't. I'd exclaim "please I just want my fibre on!" and then backtrack "sorry I know it's not your fault".

After two weeks I got up the courage and told a nice call centre worker that it was over. I told him to shut down all attempts to get things going at my new place. I said goodbye.

The call centre guy apologised. Like all the others he was polite. But his hands were tied. Getting a connection to my house and TV was too hard. An old client attached to the line or a mistake on their credit form (which was odd since I had been with them for over a decade). I guess in the end my beloved telco just wasn't that into me.

Then another walked into my life. My Republic. I'm not getting paid for this. Not even a freebie. This isn't sponsored content. This is just what happened and it was good so I feel I need to share it. They connected me within 24 hours. I was so happy.

Then disaster. The previous occupants had taken the power cord for the Chorus terminal. I rang My Republic in a panic, waited 30 seconds and a nice dude answered.

He tried to explain what to do but my sweaty face hit the hang up on my phone. He instantly rang back. My phone was too wet to swipe. I missed the call. So I phoned and got another dude "hey you're the guy my colleague was talking to". I couldn't believe it. They had communicated! They were already fixing my problem. They cared. It was amazing.

Then things got awesome. I needed the power cable but they couldn't get it to me till the following day. So he suggested approaching a Chorus van if I saw one out on the streets. "He'll have one." As luck would have it I saw one.

With a smile the driver offered me the cord for $50. I went to hand him the money and he laughed "just kidding mate" and gave it to me for free. What a great New Zealander. I ran home, plugged in and now I have all the internet I could ever want. Maybe too much.

Suddenly the cold impersonal world of call centres, endless holding, transfers, Lorde in mono and multiple phone options had transformed into a village. Like the quaint English ones Hercule Poirot operates in. People helping each other, communicating, joking, coming up with practical solutions and genuinely caring about making a connection.

I am happy in a friendly old-fashioned unlimited ultra fast fibre broadband relationship.

I'll always miss my original service provider. They were good for a long time. It just didn't work out. But my new guys really seem to like me.

- NZ Herald

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Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath is a breakfast radio host on Radio Hauraki, and a television producer, writer and director. He made a name for himself with Back of The Y Masterpiece Television, Balls of Steel UK and the feature film The Devil Dared Me To. Matt was guitarist and singer for the band Deja Voodoo which released two top twenty albums. He is currently a producer on Best Bits, a cricket commentator for The Alternative Commentary Collective, and the director of Vinewood Motion Graphics. Matt is a father of two living in Auckland City.

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