MyRepublic NBN broadband provider angering many new customers
Australia’s newest internet service provider MyRepublic has admitted that it’s going through “teething issues” that have led to many customers venting about their bad experiences on social media.
Customers – attracted by the start-up’s promise to deliver unlimited data at up to 100 Mbps for $60 a month – have complained about long wait times on the phone, generic replies to emails and lack of updates about the progress of their applications.
The biggest cause of fury has been MyRepublic’s timeframe of five to 20 business days to connect a customer. Most ISPs are able to connect customers within 48 hours.
“When we launched on November 15, we did 200 orders in the first hour, and more than 1500 orders on the first day, so the response was phenomenal,” said Nicholas Demos, MyRepublic Australia’s managing director.
“That also came with some teething problems in terms of the large volumes. As a new ISP we were transparent up front – we’ve just launched and it will take between five to 20 days to connect.”
MyRepublic describes itself as Australia’s first “purpose-built National Broadband Network service provider” and is established in Singapore, Indonesia and New Zealand.
Its key offering is unlimited data at up to 100 Mbps for $60 a month. Other similar plans cost about $100 a month.
Another point of difference is that it’s 30 person-strong call centre is based in Sydney.
Tim Overton, a web designer from Brisbane, signed up on November 16. While 20 business days have yet to pass, he said he was disappointed by the customer service.
“When I emailed them, it seemed the support staff don’t have any idea, some of them talk about things that are completely unrelated and in some cases, don’t reply at all,” he said.
“Five to 20 days is a huge time span. They were clear about it, but the typical turnarounds for other ISPs is one to two days,” he said.
He said in one conversation a call centre worker blamed NBN for the delay. Mr Overton then called NBN for more information, only to be told that MyRepublic was the one at fault.
“I don’t think it’s too much to expect to be kept informed about what’s happening,” he said.
There’s a mix of positive and negative reviews on the start-up’s Facebook page. It appears those who have been connected are enjoying fast broadband speeds.
But customers who are yet to be connected are frustrated by the lack of information on the status of their orders.
One user, Heather Steen, complained: “You were supposed to switch our internet on, on the 24th November still a week later nothing. We have called and been told someone will call us. We have messaged you and still no response hurry up or you will lose a customer! Shocking customer service!”
Another customer, Shelley Breen, threatened to lodge a complaint with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman: “This is pathetic and ridiculous”.
Users on the Whirlpool online forums have called the five to 20 day connection timeframe “a problem” and “ridiculous”.
One wrote: “If it takes longer than 5 days to connect fttp then there’s a problem. I signed up with Telecube when they were just starting out and I got connected within 5 days. Otherwise it shouldn’t take more than 2 business days. Fastest I got was 2 hrs.”
Another said: “20 business days for FTTP NBN is just ridiculous when other ISPs do it in 2-5 days”.
Some customers have said they were left without an internet connection for an unacceptable amount of time while transitioning to MyRepublic.
Mr Demos, formerly of Telstra’s budget service Belong, said they would not disconnect someone’s internet service without their consent.
“Customers can turn off their current provider by themselves and that’s not being turned off by us, that’s been turned off by themselves, and we don’t advise them to do that but if that’s what they do, that’s what they do,” he said.
He also said he was working closely with call centre staff and even taking some of the phone calls himself.
“I speak to five to 10 customers a day. The average wait time on the phone today was 4.5 minutes,” he said.
When asked about competition mid-last year, Telstra’s outgoing chief executive David Thodey said it was tier-three disrupters including MyRepublic the telco worried about more than TPG or Optus.
The story MyRepublic NBN broadband provider angering many new customers first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.