The Telstra BigPond package turned up at home this morning, it contains one “insert and run” Microsoft Windows CD and one PCMCIA wireless card as well as the ADSL modem and Ethernet cable.

I had carefully told the nice man with the almost unintelligible Indian accent that I needed the wireless card for a DESKTOP PC and that both PCs ran Linux and not Windows. So I’ve been given a CD I can’t run and a wireless card I can’t plug in! Absolutely zero instructions on installing any of it in the box.

Surprise, surprise, the account name and password I setup when I booked the service won’t let me login to the BigPond website. Just spent three minutes in voice-mail menus entering my phone number etc, only to be told “technical assistance is currently unavailable, please call again.”

Two hours later… second call, four minutes on hold listening to mindless music then I can get my password changed. No idea what the original one is, they can’t tell. Tried to login with that password and it won’t work, but the support person tells me it can take up to quarter of an hour to go through — i.e., if I still can’t login call back and it’ll be someone else’s problem….

Another two hours then what a surprise, the new password still won’t let me in. Three tries and the account is locked, time to ring technical assistance again…. Now I’ve been told that the account isn’t active until after I’ve plugged in and connected the ADSL modem from home, so I have to wait until I get home and go through the whole rigmarole again.

Long delay, go home, unpack boxes, play with wires, put shiny CD into Windows laptop and follow the bouncing ball… Oo-err, now we’re connected to the internet. Assorted bits of web browsing and software updates to check that all is working. Ten o’clock at night and I try to login to the BigPond website — still no luck! Yet another call to that 13xxxx number, more voice-mail prompts and a different story from a different help-desk person: “there’s a problem with the servers since about six o’clock and hardly anybody can login, try again tomorrow morning.”