Exceed your quota … somehow it’s the NBN’s fault?


blog You really have to wonder sometimes whether News Ltd’s Australian newspapers have it in for the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network project. The Daily Telegraph was shown a while back to have been repeatedly wrong in several reports on the NBN, The Australian has often taken a broadly negative viewpoint of the project, and now we have a new dubious piece from The Herald Sun in Melbourne.

If you read the first few lines of columnist Helen McInerney’s tirade (we recommend you click here for the full article), you’d believe that the NBN infrastructure connected to her house was somehow deficient, as it wasn’t delivering the 100Mbps speeds McInerney was promised. But then later on, we find out why, following a conversation she had with Telstra over the issue:

“Telstra, he told me, had slowed my broadband speed due to excessive usage … according to the NBN man at Telstra on one day so much information was uploaded via my account that the speed was reduced as a penalty.”

So wait … McInerney’s residence was selected as one of the few, the very few, Australian homes to be part of the NBN’s early stage rollout program, and she connected to the NBN’s fibre at 100Mbps with Telstra. Subsequently, somehow she burns through her quota, not a surprising thing when she openly admits she doesn’t know the difference between a gigabyte and a megabyte, then uses her high-profile column in a huge newspaper to sledge the NBN as as a result? Riiiight. Someone call the waaambulance, we’ve got a terminal case of first world problems.

Image credit: Star Trek: The Next Generation


  1. First line of the article “AS houses go, mine is meant to be a genius.”

    Pity there isn’t one living IN the house.

  2. There is an error at the beginning of the article:

    You really have to wonder sometimes whether News Ltd’s Australian newspapers have it in for the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network project.

    should be

    It has been obvious for a while now that News Ltd’s Australian newspapers have it in for the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network project.


    • I have another amendment –

      “Someone call the waaambulance, we’ve got a terminal case of first world problems.”

      should read –

      Someone call the waaambulance, we’ve got a terminal case of stupid.

    • Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I read something in the News Limited coverage lately, what springs to mind is a bunch of the sheep from Orwell’s animal farm, all chanting together:

      “LNP gooooood, Labor baaaaaad!”

  3. Wow, still catching up since Christmas? I thought that article had been discussed to death elsewhere. I think I have the tshirt for it.

  4. That Herald Sun article is paywalled. On the one hand, I’m annoyed I can’t slam her properly. On the other hand, it’s wasting less of my time, so… I guess I’ll call it even.

    • Google the headline and you can get to the article.

      In short, I’d say she didnt put any security onto her modem, and someone drained her quota of 200 gig. Then she complained it was the NBN’s fault, and went running through Telstra a few times wanting it to be solved yesterday.

      I love paywalls. it protects the innocent from the ignorant.

      • She or her Kid torrented some TV shows and left it uploading.

        Someone should send the MAFIAAFACT over to her house.

        • +1

          Yep, open uploads at 40MB/s with no seed limit will do that, and she pretty much says so in the article

          “According to the NBN man at Telstra on one day so much information was uploaded via my account that the speed was reduced as a penalty”

          (emphasis mine)

    • I’m not sure if it works all the time, but I found Googling the title of the article, ‘Super-slow and fast way to frustration with Telstra and NBN’, goes to a non-paywalled article.

      It’s still not worth your time however.

    • They weren’t the day she posted the article and she was ripped to shreds, that’s probably why they are gone.

  5. It’s a pay per view article, you would have to pay me to read any of Limited News publications, maybe their Journalists really are as dumb as they look.
    Of course Limited News is against the NBN, ADSL has already destroyed the print business and their losses are even greater than at Fairfax, it’s only Rupert’s “I run Australia subsidy” that keeps those mastheads running. Fortunaltely for us all his entire print empire is gradually being strangled probably having less than 5 years to run more than likely on his death the bulk of his mastheads will be culled.
    The only remaining areas of his business to continue is the motion picture business which will have to run on much less money than presently.
    Foxtel is seriously affected by the NBN and will most likely be rendered worthless for the same reasons free to air is being bankrupted. When this network is completed the ARL, AFL Australian Cricket will be able to run their own channels as will programme producers.The broadcast rights for pay television will vanish. People like me don’t want to buy bundles of hundreds of channels, all I am interested in is buying are the programmes I watch. Programme bundling middlemen are toast, the equity in these businesses will only vanish.
    Expect very serious Limited News Opposition to the NBN their survival depends on NBN’s failure.

  6. Renai you missed the bit in the article where she implies devious Labor hackers have broken into her computer to make the NBN look good by slowing it down, somehow (?!)

    “It makes sense that I have been the victim of an attack, either by some criminal stealing my megabytes or by a con artist employed to sell the NBN dream.”

    Reading the article, you have to wonder why somebody so stupid is writing on this subject.

  7. Helen McInerney is a Melbourne writeridiot who would [still] be a[n] bloggeridiot if she had more stable internet access

    and no you use google to get the full article. and yes im also laughing sardonically at the fact you cant comment on the article.

    from the article it seems she tried to get service through Telstra – and had her chain jerked about a bit which doesnt shock me. true Telstra evidently does need more training for its help staff WRT NBN delivered services – its surely a small small fraction of their total services today. that needs some work, and if there is any takeaway from the story i would suggest it is that. but that lack of service desk knowledge is no excuse for bashing NBN for it – thats TELSTRAS fault not theirs.

    it definitely sounds like an open router or something of the kind, and again if she doesn’t “understand megabytes or gigabytes or what a gigabyte might provide” she should get herself along to one of those educational sessions for old folks – she would benefit greatly. doubt she would have the ability to troubleshoot the problem following such a course but her anger over whats happened seems to me to stem in part from her own ignorance, and improvement in knowledge is probably going to do well for her heartrate as well as resulting in fewer embarrassing weepies to telstra helldesk droids.

    and again after a comment like this “It makes sense that I have been the victim of an attack, either by some criminal stealing my megabytes or by a con artist employed to sell the NBN dream.” i can only reiterate: if you werent watching your usage meter regularly – like a hawk even – in the first few weeks of service then you have even less reason to blame others. go look in the mirror, lady. the responsible party is looking right at yer.

    finally her astonishment at what happens if ones problem isnt escalated – “The unprompted response from the Telstra shop employee? “It could take forever.”” thats telling you you’ve picked the wrong provider in the first place. should’ve done better research before signing on. someone call the waaaaahmblulance, im done.

  8. So the author is blaming a shadowy Labor operative, for their broadband service quota exhaustion?

    Bearing in mind, in this context it doesn’t matter whether it’s Telstra’s ADSL, OFC or NBN based service in question, they all come with the same basic set of terms and quota structure.

    Of course they are. Clearly it’s a NBNco/ Labor plot to subvert and cripple access of the NBN, to improve NBN demand! I DEMAND A ROYAL COMMISSION.


    • I have heard Malcolm does denial of service attacks on NBN customers who run speed tests. Fortunately he is on FTTN with limited upstream so not even wireless users notice the few percent difference he can make.

      • “I have heard Malcolm does denial of service attacks on NBN customers who run speed tests.”

        Not sure if this comment is serious or not. If it is serious, I have to warn you under Delimiter’s comments policy that it’s not on to post “Comments which inject demonstrably false information into the debate”:


        • I’ll add a ;) in future. It wasn’t serious, but about as absurd as the idea Labor is stealing her quota.

  9. HAHAHAHAHAHA….She is a classic.

    DOH, Did you not keep an eye on your usage on the old, non NBN, ADSL (or dial up) service. IT IS THE INTERNET LOVE, SAME THING….hahahahahahahaha LOL ROFL.

    Can’t believe the editors let that pass, wait, yes I can. Dheads.

  10. And what may be worse, is MT getting hold of this and running with it. Waiting, waiting…….

  11. Having to ring Telstra on ANY subject matter makes any call a case of do I really really have to do this or is root canal treatment preferable because at least you get a anesthetic.

    Having recently been put through hoops of their bloody voice recognition system just trying to report a loose pillar cover leaving the wires exposed (hey Telstra I’m doing YOU a favour!) I can understand her frustration on the time it took in finally getting a response that she was over quota.

    BTW What ever happened to warning emails when you get near to quota, or were they ignored?

    • From what I read, there was so much traffic a warning email would have been too late.

      Not going to go back to the story, but it was something like 120 gig in a day, out of a 200 gig limit. It was that spike that generated the throttle.

      • Yes I understand that but even so she still had to ring Telstra to find out what the problem was, it reads like she was throttled for few days before she decided to contact Telstra to find out what the problem was.

        • The email could have been sent to an email address she doesn’t check. I’m not with Telstra so I don’t know, but I assume they give you an @bigpond.com.au email address, and maybe that’s the one where the notifications go?

    • The service you get from Telstra can be very hit-and-miss I find, I’ve had the exact same experience as she did (though I’m on cable). Everyone there tries to be helpful, but when your in some Asian country (like most of their CSR’s are) and forced to troubleshoot via a script, it’s mostly frustrating for all involved :/

      • The vaunted promise of always talking to an australian first time you ring long since replaced by a clever robot IVR running on servers in australia forcing you through tedious steps and then passing you off to some overseas CSRs who on average churned out work so sloppy even the (broad sweeping generalization as a former member of the pool) drones telstra employed for these jobs thought they sucked. We on average sucked, but we were in australia, had plenty that spoke good english (more than half, the selection bias at work if you never remembered us) and some of us even put pride and effort in.

        I remember the week they turned on the robot IVR’s anti abuse functions, you get angry and swear at the robot, it politely asks you to stop like the staff are supposed to, then you do it again and it hangs up, like a staff member is supposed to, unfortunately it has no common sense to understand & manage frustration… the number of quietly seething customers ready to explode that we received was amazing to the point of hilarity.

  12. Watching the decline of Murdochs media is like watching a slow motion video of a mental asylum during an earthquake, and unfortunately, while they are both full of crazies, the asylum would actually be the one that would be missed more…

  13. “It’s like living near a new freeway that has no on-ramps.”

    No it is like living near a new freeway and trying to push your car (which ran out of petrol) while making brum brum noise and then blaming the council for the slow trip

  14. ….my god…after I actually read her…article? Whine? Rant? (I’m not sure what it could be classed as really), the woman doesn’t seem to have a logical train of thought AT ALL…not even a bit…it’s like a Dear Diary entry from a 6 year old…

    And THAT is something you have to pay them to access??!! Jebuz…they’re in a lot more trouble than I thought they were…

  15. It’s coming …..

    Wait for it …….

    “I’m no techhead Kerry ….”

  16. I didn’t RTFA having seen the paywall words come up. What speed was the link throttled to? This article might turn out to be an excellent example of why 100/40 is in fact a speed that most Australian households would use. If the experience of using a “slow” internet was so obvious after being shaped to say 12/1 or similar, I mean, what else can you conclude?

    Also.. Yaarr pirates ahoy… or perhaps just putting the family movies on Mega? Seems legit to me.

  17. Bit like a poster over at ZD who came to tell us how NBNCo sucked, because he moved into a new estate and Telstra had to supply copper, because the developer hadn’t provisioned for costly fibre :/

  18. I can’t believe no one has highlighted ths gem yet:

    “That’s a shame, as due to the poor internet performance I can’t get ABC reception on the television – it just shows a “no signal” message, or the images are pixelated.”

    Poor Internet. Affects. TV. Reception.

  19. The reality is bandwidth caps continue to deny Australians the full use of whatever broadband connection they have. This is a real problem that our current government does not even recognise exists. 100 meg is useless if I can’t actually use it.

    • Matthew, That obsession of yours has been flogged to death and recently cut to ribbons again elsewhere.

      For example in this case the max bandwidth allowed an uneducated user to exceed their DATA Cap and as a result have their service (bandwidth ) limited. It was not a case of evil Capped Bandwidth, rather closer to the obverse.

      I too wondered about the upload reported, lack of wifi security?, poor pc/network security allowing an upload of her entire computers data?, or accidental (innocent/ignorant) permitting of access to a questionable file sharing network to her drives. The data volume seems to fit, hope for her sake she didn’t have some private home vids or piccies

      • Regardless Abel, like 12mbps – 50%, you can expect to read it everwhere, daily, for the next two years :/

    • Bandwidth caps provide the opportunity for faster speeds, while speed tiers simply slow access down and reduce usability.

      Helen has provide the perfect example of how it doesn’t require much knowledge to download torrents of data. The benefit is as people like Helen download more and upgrade plans, CVC becomes cheaper ($20 -> $8). If she had a 12/1Mbps connection this wouldn’t be news, because it is unlikely she would have downloaded as much.

      Sadly we have been lumbered with speed tiers, which will exclude all but the rich from the game changing benefits of the NBN.

      • Hi Mathew,
        What this article shows is (if you paid careful Ttention to it) is that this lady loves Her NBN (so much she even plugged it into the aerial hole of her TV in hope that it would work). This article has nothing whatsoever to do with the NbN. There’s ARE articles I am sure coming, where people will have legitimate complaints. But this article is about Telstra, and the other ISPs (TPG in rare cases) that account for UPLOAD data in the same quota.

        This has nothing to do with the NBN, and once it has been built, and demand for bandwidth increases, so will provision of bandwidth. More provision leads to lower prices. (because the initial cost of provisioning is high compared to the cost to over provision).

        This article is only about the NBN as much as it incorrectly includes it at all.

  20. [censored due to copyright infringement. You know the rules. And I’m not going to give you guys explicit instructions on dealing with the News Ltd paywalls. Work it out yourself ;) — Renai]

    Full text due to paywalling.

    • Thanks for that. So much ignorance in one story, its hard to fathom. I used to get people like her call up all the time when i worked in a Telstra call centre . Nothing is ever their fault and they blame you personally for every problem in their house, and when they exceed their limit they express total ignorance to even having a limit in the first place.

      Its no wonder her call got hand-balled around Telstra. Thats a pretty typical move for employees to transfer someone around or dump them back into the same que, if they are ao idiotic you’d rather lose your job than attempt to help them any further.

    • Renai will delete the full post when he sees it. Because its hidden behind a paywall, reposting it is a breach of copyright. Pity, its a good lesson for all that stupidity trumps logic every time.

  21. I can’t even comment on the stupidity of the blog on the stupid bloody paper’s stupid website!

    And as someone else pointed out, just go to the article, copy and Google the headline and you get a link to the full story.

    Now where were we about stupid? Ah yes, paywalls…

Comments are closed.