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Slow broadband frustrates customers

Published: 7:11PM Tuesday November 07, 2006 Source: One News

Telecom's new high-speed broadband is not always living up to the hype and in fact the company admits some users are getting slower download speeds.

That has left some very frustrated customers.

They are called the "extraordinaries" and represent Telecom's push to provide unconstrained, high-speed internet.

But for Xtra broadband customer Alan Henderson from Wanganui, it has been like returning to the dark ages.

"Most of the time I've been getting not much more than ordinary dial-up speeds," Henderson says.

One News went straight to Telecom and asked how many of its half a million residential and business customers are getting faster broadband.

"We would think more than half are getting increased speeds at this stage," says Telecom's Kevin Bowler.

Of the rest, Telecom says 10% are actually getting slower speeds, while the others will be experiencing no change.

A telecoms watchdog group says customers have a right to feel aggrieved. The Telecommunications Users Association says broadband is faster, but only when the conditions are right.

"If you expand the access ramps onto a motorway, you can get a lot more traffic onto the motorway. But that doesn't mean that when you get on there you're not going to slow to a crawl," says Ernie Newman of the association.

Telecom promised maximum download speeds for all plans but it is clearly not delivering. Disgruntled users can change internet service providers but that might not do much either, as they all feed off Telecom's lines, which means the extraordinaries have a bit of work ahead of them to deliver the goods.

Bowler admits it is not perfect. "And we were clear about that from the beginning. Most people will get faster speeds but not everyone will."

Newman says it requires more investment from Telecom in shoring up other parts of the network.

For Henderson though, he just wants his internet working the way it was, even if it means sending the extraordinaries back to where they came from.

"It seems to have collapsed in a heap," he says.