Wednesday, 03 October 2018 07:04

Aussie Broadband chief scores a PR coup by detailing outage

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Phillip Britt: "We have grown so rapidly that things have been missed and overlooked, and we have been caught with our pants down." Phillip Britt: "We have grown so rapidly that things have been missed and overlooked, and we have been caught with our pants down." Supplied

ANALYSIS The head of small Australian ISP, Aussie Broadband, has taken the unusual step of telling his customers the intricate details of an outage that occurred over the recent weekend, in sharp contrast to other companies that try to paper over such incidents with bizspeak.

Phillip Britt posted a chronological account of what had happened, right from 11am on Saturday morning when one of the company's firewalls went down due to a rush of traffic from what appeared to be a compromised host on the network.

He did not make a bid to hide a thing, ending his post with, "We are deeply sorry that this occurred, and it is totally on us that it happened. We have grown so rapidly that things have been missed and overlooked, and we have been caught with our pants down. We are deeply embarrassed by it."

The technical details may only be interesting to geeks and nerds but Britt has scored a major PR coup with his users by offering them an inside view of what things were like and not attempting to gild the lily.

It brings back memories of the time when both iiNet and Internode had a similar attitude — under the stewardship of Michael Malone and Simon Hackett respectively — and users were confident that technical aspects were under control as geeks were running these businesses.

Those days are long gone and now, and with TPG owning both these ISPs, the service levels are nothing like what they used to be.

Britt's company has also done well in the speed stakes, topping the list of providers in the second report from the ACCC's broadband speed monitoring program, achieving 88.3% of download speed and 89.1% of upload speeds for a plan during the busy period.

Whether the confession made by Britt will translate into benefits for the business in terms of more customers is not certain, given that Aussie Broadband prices its plans much higher than many others.

For many NBN users and would-be users, the price is often the most sensitive factor deciding who will be their provider, especially given that wages have been stagnant for so long.

But Britt has definitely ensured that all his thinking customers will stay with the company and never entertain thoughts of moving to other ISPs.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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