Anniversaries and Internets

So, our 6 month anniversary/land settlement date is tomorrow. This time around, there seems to be nothing which would cause us to delay the section purchase any further. It must be some kind of kismet that these two events are now falling on the same day.

Rob’s plan for our anniversary is to watch the new Star Wars movie on Blu Ray. My plan is to go out for a steak dinner first… and then watch Star Wars. And also, you know, spending the day sorting my life out, and packing up the house, and doing grocery shopping, and buying some varnish for the table I’m trying to refinish, and pick up a prescription, and all of those other things that I never seem to get time to do when I’m working mad hours.

13.5 hour shift at work today! I was at work literally from dawn till past dusk. Bloody conferences.

However, our Star Wars plans may get put on hold if the disc Rob ordered on Tuesday doesn’t turn up tomorrow. It was meant to be here today, but we are officially in a rural area and couriers are therefore often slow or slack. It will only get worse at the new place.

It’s led me to start pondering about how to manage our internet connection at the new property. It suffers from the same problem as most rural places in New Zealand: bugger all internet. There is no broadband available through a land-line. We have the option to stay on rural wireless broadband like we have at the current house (which is basically using the mobile phone network for data), but it’s expensive and the data caps are generally very low. Trying to get helpful customer service out of any telco provider also seems to be like alchemy (i.e. fucking impossible), and customer service is really important when your wireless network drops out or gets jammed or even needs to be connected in the first place.

When we moved to this house last year, it took Vodafone 3 months (3 months!), several service call-outs (which they never turned up for), and many, many hours on hold to connect us to the internet. They actually told us that the delay was our fault for not being home when their service person made a (completely unscheduled) visit to our house… on a work day… while we we happened to be at my uncle’s funeral. The only thing that eventually worked was me going into one of their stores and causing a huge scene in front of the elderly customers who were being convinced to buy an iPhone so that they could “text to their grandkids and things”. I told them I’d keep coming back and loudly tell their potential customers how helpful they are, and how reasonable their contract terms are, and how efficient their service personnel are… and I’d be honest, so they’d better be too.

So basically, Vodafone can go fuck themselves.

Unfortunately, they are one of only two providers which cover the area we’re moving into… and the other provider also has dismal reviews online. So now we must choose between the devil we know and the satan we don’t.

With data caps, we must also figure out whether it’s worth finally jumping ship from paid TV. There still aren’t a lot of options for online TV in New Zealand, and the price of rural wireless broadband makes streaming video terribly expensive anyway. Perusing the limited catalogues of Netflix NZ and TVNZ On Demand hasn’t exactly made me fill up my viewing schedule. In the end, it will probably be cheaper and easier to just join Fatso and rent a bunch of DVDs. Rob mostly watches movies or plays games anyway. I don’t really care that I’m watching old seasons of TV shows, because that’s most of what I watch already. And it’s got both my sensible shows like Grand Designs and stupid guilty pleasures like old episodes of The Girls Next Door, so my current viewing habits are fairly well covered.

Perhaps the best test will be to join Fatso before we move (and therefore get forced to make a decision on the internets) and see how much we use it… and how much we stop using paid TV. If we can fill up our screen lives for $39.99 per month, then we’ll both be happier (and richer), and hopefully less demanding of our internet provider.

Because, you know, it’s best not to ask too much from companies which find customer service to be so darn haaarrrrd



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