Last updated: June 05, 2011

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Telstra's BigPond bombs out with consumers

TELSTRA'S BigPond internet service has bombed in Australia's biggest consumer technology survey, which canvassed the opinions of more than 14,000 people.

Of those who rated the BigPond service, less than a third believed they received value-for-money and only one in two would recommend the internet provider to a friend, according to the results published in PC Authority this week.

"In every category we asked 'Would you recommend the product' or 'Would you buy it again', and pretty much no-one did that badly across the board," said PC Authority editor Nick Ross.

"It was only in the ISP (internet service provider) category, where three of them did that badly – Telstra, Xtra and Dodo."

BigPond rated poorly on customer service and value-for-money, but two thirds of respondents said they were satisfied with the service's reliability. Xtra and Dodo received the lowest score possible for almost every category.

"Dodo's a far smaller company. Telstra's one of the biggest tech companies in Australia, if not the biggest," Ross said.

"We said last year that Telstra was the worst tech company in Australia. It probably still is – considering the size and resources it has – if it's getting scores like that."

The magazine named Westnet the highest-rated ISP and gave runner-up Internode a "highly commended" mention.

Negative reputation

Ross said it was likely that Telstra's negative reputation among broadband internet users had an effect on the survey results.

"People blame Telstra for most of all broadband problems, but they still feel that they have to use it because there's little choice out there," he said.

"Two-thirds or so were happy with (BigPond's) reliability, so they weren't just panning it across the board. They were actually putting some thought into their answers."

Phil Sweeney of Australian broadband community Whirlpool said the results were consistent with consumer sentiment and recommended people research a range of service providers before deciding on a broadband plan.

"The main problem with the BigPond plans is that they usually aren't value-for-money. What they rely on is their advertising budget," he said.

"A lot of people don't even realise that there are hundreds of ISPs out there, and most of them have better plans and better value-for-money."

'Survey results skewed'

BigPond corporate affairs manager Craig Middleton dismissed the PC Authority survey and said its structure had encouraged people to express extreme opinions.

"Surveys that rely on people being motivated to respond skew the responses between those who love their ISP and those who have had a poor experience," Mr Middleton said.

"The vast majority of BigPond customers have a reliable, good value, always-on broadband service that they probably spend no more time dwelling upon than their water or electricity service."

Mr Middleton said BigPond staff were regularly tested by a customer experience assessment company and the provider had been ranked first in a comparison of Australian ISPs.

In October consumer group Choice found BigPond customers were less likely to be satisfied with their internet plan than users of other major ISPs. BigPond users were the least satisfied with the cost of their ADSL, ADSL2+ and cable broadband plans.


PC Authority
Whirlpool –
Choice Online –

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