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Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 23 January 2002

Note: the comments below are the unabridged submissions of readers and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.


From: Ian
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Voyager v Xtra

It broke my heart when Voyager sold out to Xtra. It seemed
like a betrayal of all I held dear.

Most of the ex-Voyager customers dutifully transferred
their accounts to Xtra like good little boys and girls, but
it now seems that those who live "in the country" have
found out what it all really means.

I recall the "good old days" of the New Zealand internet
wars between V and X with a certain fondness, even though
it was $7.95 an hour in those days if I remember correctly.

Bruce, your gripes about Xtra's helpdesk make it sound like
you are one of the Voyager-to-Xtra bunnies (which surprises
me). Perhaps the time is ripe for you to move to one of the
other ISPs which have managed to survive in Aotearoa and
give them a chance to become as profitable as the 11th best
place in the nation to work. (Unlimited magazine survey - I
can't believe who came 2nd either)

Aardvark Responds
No, I'm not an ex-Voyager user -- I had to switch to XTRA
when my previous provider got out of the dial-up access
business.  Since I spend a lot of time on the Net, I
needed a true flat-rate connection and the "convenience"
of just having your Net connection tacked onto the phone
bill lured me (as I'm sure it has with most other XTRA

From: Peter George
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: Xtra's excuse sequence

I have had an account with Xtra from the beginning, and
have installed and supported many people using Xtra. I have
used their helpline extensively in the past. Occasionally
you get a help person who uses their noodle, but most often
you a standard line:

It's your software/settings
It's your hardware/modem
It's your line
It's your exchange

Rarely does the focus seem to get beyond that.

I had major problems (in Central Otago) years ago, spent
many hours a week (sometimes each day) on the helpline
talking to various levels of escalation. Xtra (actually
Telecom) went as far as having one of their people travel
arround the area doing extensive dial-in and line tests.
They assured me I would find out the results, but I didn't.

Then Xtra upgraded their modems and the problem disappeared.

This sort of thing has happened on a lesser scale since.

Incidentally they had different modems on different dial-in
numbers - 087 303030 and 087 303032, often giving different
results with different end user modems.

I have frequently had to go through their normal sequence
of checking settings, uninstalling/reinstalling etc when I
had already tried their usual things before ringing. I
guess this has some sense, because it ensures nothing is

Incidentally, their status message typically understates
problems, sometimes by quite a magnitude. Once it
said "some users on the West Coast may experience
occasional difficulties connecting" and it appears the
whole South island was down. What this probably meant was
that someone on the West Coast was the first to get Xtra to
admit it was their problem, and that the help desk had no
idea about geography. I think most or all of the South
Island is channeled through Christchurch, but most help
desk people have little or no knowledge of the area - I
have also had "Dunedin? Is that near Wellington?"

Appealing to them that if we know the extent of a problem
we can save ourselves and them a lot of time and hassle
never seemd to matter.

Phew, now thats a little of my chest.

From: Alan
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: internet service providers

Dear Sir, both sites you refer to in your column can be
accessed through my internet service provider(Paradise net).
It sounds like XTRA have a problem and are trying to pull
the wool.Considering XTRA is one of the dearest ISP's in
New Zealand i would have thought that they have got there
act together.Obviously not. Regards Alan

From: Michael
For : The Editor (for publication)
Subj: A comment from the inside

Xtra's helpdesk is outsourced. I have a friend who has
worked on their helpdesk, and they commented that because of
the outsourcing, the helpdesk staff don't have access to fix
this sort of technical problem. They were also less than
impressed by the general quality of the staff.

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