Telecom's DSL usage meter under fire

Telecom's JetStream usage meter is coming under fire from end users who are claiming it can be inaccurate - with some reporting problems on the first day of the billing cycle.

Telecom's JetStream usage meter is coming under fire from end users who are claiming it can be inaccurate - with some reporting problems on the first day of the billing cycle.

A Christchurch-based car rental firm found to its surprise that it had used 338MB of its 3000MB allowance on the first day.

"I'd checked carefully the day before because we run Windows NT here and Microsoft is discontinuing support, so I saw we had around 600MB left at the end of the cycle and I downloaded all the patches and upgrades I could to our machines," says the IT manager who did not want to be named.

"I was quite surprised to discover it added on to the new cycle instead of to the old one." He rang Xtra's helpdesk and was eventually told to speak to Telecom about it.

"I was told not to look at the usage meter on the first day of the billing cycle as it's inaccurate, but if they know this why don't they tell the customers about it somewhere?"

He says he wouldn't have spent an hour on hold trying to find an answer if he'd known there was a problem with the meter. The next day the meter reported the correct usage levels.

In a written statement Telecom spokesman group marketing manager Graham Walmsley apologised for the problems with the meter.

"Telecom is aware that there [have] been isolated times when the usage meter has been delayed in showing usage records or that customer's usage has fluctuated during the day."

Walmsley says the usage meter is usually updated every two hours and he does not believe there should be problems on the first day of a new billing cycle.

"Occasionally due to a delay in the overnight processing, usage data from the last day of period prior may carry over to the new period on the usage meter. This typically corrects itself within a matter of hours."

IDGNet understands Telecom is poised to launch a new usage meter that will replace the existing web-based tool. The new meter will sit on the user's PC and display its results in the system tray.

A number of other users on the DSL mailing list have also experienced problems with the billing cycle and with the usage meter either not recording data or reverting to lesser amounts during the month.

One user, Andrew Connell, has produced a usage meter of his own to monitor international traffic for JetStream Starter users. JetStream Starter customers are only billed for international traffic. His application can be found here.

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