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Review: Orcon, a few months in 31/01/2011

Posted by Nigel in Technology.
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Back in October, we decided to switch from our old ISP (of ~3+ years – family stayed with them while I was in Australia) Actrix. We hadn’t had much reason in the past to switch away from Actrix (good customer service, reasonable prices, and at the time the big seller, Daily Caps instead of monthly). In the past, Actrix was even greater value for money than any of the other ISPs as they had a ‘double happy’ promotion which reset the daily cap twice (the usual 2am reset & a reset at 6pm) which effectively meant 1400MB/day at the time instead of 700MB/day.

However, circumstances changed, we had to move off the grandfathered plan that gave us the Double Happy promotion, and were eventually stuck after the second change, on a 800MB/day plan. This made watching catch-up On-Demand TV a major issue, there is nothing like getting speed limited half way through watching a Grey’s Anatomy episode, trust me. We started looking elsewhere and after a while settled with Orcon once they brought the new caps in after the GST rise.

Signing up was a bit of an issue, the Address Checker didn’t like our address or phone number, it could pick up the exchange we were connected to, but immediately returned “call Sales”, calling sales on a weekend for this turned into “well, I’d have to refer it to Provisioning, but I’m pretty sure they won’t be able to connect you as it’ll be really slow and not worth it, and they only work Mon-Fri”.

Calling back on the Monday got me another Sales guy, that listened, realised it was a churn of an existing Telecom Wholesale connection and said to the effect of “Yes, we should be able to connect you, I’ll create an account, I will have to speak to provisioning and there is a small chance we won’t be able to churn the connection, but it sounds good”. A completely different answer, and in fact the one I expected.

After not getting a confirmation or any phone calls after a few days, I started putting on the worried face, and called back to see the status, after a while and a call back I spoke to the original sales rep who advised me, that he was still getting on to the provisioning team to get the green light, but it’d be a little longer. Then the magic happened, they got the green light, and a couple of days later, Chorus rejected the order for lack of information, they required an ‘ASID’ (it’s just an ID number that you can get from your current provider), sending the ASID number the same day, resulted in my connection churned that night! Well under the 10 days quoted for time of order placed, to churn that I was quoted!

After a minor authentication glitch we were going. Now, this is what really surprised me, a day or so in I got a phone call from the Sales Rep that processed the order, checking that everything was going okay, and if I had any questions/minor issues that we could help me with. This is something I think a lot of companies forget about, a look at the connection and a follow up phone call to make sure everything is working as expected. It puts a human touch to the company and really reinforces the brand.

The only issue I’ve had since switching is occasional International Bandwidth issues, which resulted in extremely slow speeds, but in the recent month or two, Orcon seem to have down a lot to fix this, and I’m now enjoying zero-rated TVNZ On Demand & NZ On Screen (not keen on iSky unfortunately).

The thing I’d like to see Orcon do next, is to be a bit more open about their plans for IPv6. IPv6 to be is going to be the game changer over the next year/two years in my opinion, and I’m willing to support any ISP that is willing to show an interest in getting IPv6 out there (Inspire already seem to be doing a trial and it seems World Exchange is also doing a trial). My view is, even a tunnel broker style setup, to imitate how IPv6 is to be deployed natively to customers when the right CPE is available is a positive step for the future and will at least let backhaul and traffic accounting to be tested.

In summary, really glad I switched, a little less nay-saying in Sales would be a good thing, but the connection quality (including not having to bounce packets via Wellington from Auckland) is brilliant, especially now their International issues seem to be resolved.

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Comments»

1. Pen Hunt - 05/07/2011

How do you feel about Orcon a few months down the track?

I am thinking of changing from Xtra, because of the price difference (almost 1/2 the price I am currently paying), but I can’t afford downtime, as I rely on my broadband connection for a home based business.

Nigel - 06/07/2011

A few more months down the track? The honest truth, I switched to Telecom. I had too many issues at night with slow speeds, I think it’s something that hits Orcon every couple of months. We also had problems with them ignoring issues (fixing a billing issue took over a month for no apparent reason) and ignoring tickets raised by e-mail.

In contrast, due to an unknown reason Telecom were charging us at the wrong rate for the Broadband packages, within 10 minutes the first person I spoke to fixed it, organized a credit that more than compensated the mistake and corrected the cause.

As far as pricing goes, Telecom is cheaper than Orcon for more data, for me, but we are outside the Orcon+/unbundled networks.

2. Kristy - 12/06/2012

Orcon has the absolute worst customer service I have ever experienced. It takes them weeks to reply to online enquiries. The hold time to talk to anyone is at least an hour. They changed our phone number without telling us. It has been weeks and we still don’t have an explanation or solution. AVOID THEM AT ALL COSTS


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