Members approved the orderly closure of all broadband and dialup internet access offerings by PCUG's "The Internet Project" (TIP) at the 2013 AGM. Final closure will now occur at the end of March 2014. ALL MEMBERS currently using TIP to access the Internet, using either broadband or dialup subscriptions, MUST make alternative access arrangements by this time. All third-party (non-PCUG) website hosting services will also cease at this time. We have contacted the small number of members using this service separately, to advise them of what they need to do.
This closure will not affect the continued provision of PCUG email addresses, and PCUG member webspaces. When the TIP ISP service ends, PCUG members should note that PCUG will continue to provide you with PCUG email addresses and PCUG member webspaces. You will access these just as members using other ISPs currently do, as described on the TIP Wiki Email page. Members moving to another ISP from TIP may need to update their email client settings to continue to access their PCUG emails. We have provisioned a new hosting service for the PCUG and TIP domains, that we will use to continue to support these PCUG member services. These are PCUG member benefits, and you should contact PCUG for further information on them. Please do not ask other ISP customer service staff about them, as they will not have any information to assist. Also note that when you sign-up with another ISP, they will provide you with a new email address, that they at least will use to keep in touch with you. This is completely separate from, and in addition to, your PCUG email address. So you will have both addresses available to use, just as the majority of our members already using other ISPs have had for many years.
To assist with this migration, PCUG has signed an agreement with iiNet (owners of the TransACT and Grapevine services), in which they have agreed to pay PCUG a $100 sign-on bonus for any current PCUG TIP internet access subscriber who elects to switch to any current Grapevine/iiNet internet access plan under the terms of this offer. We will share this sign-on bonus with each member, paying it along with any required TIP subscription refund, as detailed below. Grapevine are also waiving the setup fee for members signing up under this offer. However TIP subscribers must follow PCUG's instructions regarding the transfer to reach staff aware of the deal, otherwise we (and you) will not be paid.
You can migrate to Grapevine, or any other ISP if you wish, at anytime during February and March 2014. If your TIP subscription falls due during this period, then migrating a little before the due date would be sensible. Otherwise, you can signup with your chosen ISP at any convenient time. We would encourage members to be patient, consider their options, and respond in good time sometime during this period. Given the number of members involved, it would be best for all if these changes are spread over the two month migration period.
To accept the iiNet offer, you will need to have a TransACT subscription that includes broadband access. Available Grapevine/iiNet plans may be viewed at:
The Canberra TransACT call-centre staff, who have the details of the PCUG offer, are happy to assist. They are available from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and you must contact them by phone on "13 30 61 option 6"; or alternatively via email to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss their available plans, and to signup for a new service under the terms of our agreement with them, during Feb and Mar 2014. They advise that 10-10.30am and 3-3.30pm are good times to call. If you find there is a significant delay when you call, you are encouraged to use the call-back facility. When speaking with the Grapevine/TransACT staff, you will need to state that you are a PCUG member, that you wish to signup to a new internet access plan under the terms of the agreement with PCUG, and provide your name and PCUG login for verification against the list of our customers supplied to them. Please ensure you use these contact details, rather than the general Grapevine/iiNet contacts, as their other call centres are not aware of the PCUG deal. Many problems have been caused by members choosing other than option 6 on the above number, or calling other Grapevine numbers - these will not work! Also note that if you are transferred, or ask for a callback, that you may not be talking with the Canberra TransACT call-centre. If that occurs, please ask to be transferred back to them.
Now the TIP closure is under way, all current PCUG TIP internet access subscribers will need to do both of the following before the end of March 2014:
If you are accessing the "User Services (TIP)" page for the first time, you will need to approve the use of the security certificate we use on this secure site. Details of how to do this, and the reasons why, are given on our Security Certificates page on the TIP Wiki.
We will refund all unused TIP subscription (lesser of unused time or download quota) from your last use date, as well as pay the members share of the sign-on bonus if applicable, as soon as feasible after TIP ISP closure, and after funds are received from iiNet. This will most likely occur sometime in April 2014, as quickly as our office resources allow. Refund alternatives for this amount, after deducting the initial premium member benefit fee if requested, are to use it as:
Current TIP subscribers will also need to indicate whether they wish to retain Standard member benefits (included free with PCUG membership, which provides a single PCUG email address and modest mail and web disk quotas), or Premium member benefits (for an additional annual charge, currently $20, which provides for up to 10 additional PCUG email addresses, and larger disk quotas). More information on these alternatives is provided on the TIP Wiki Member Benefit Plans page.
For those who do not wish to accept the iiNet offer, we have prepared an overview of Internet Access alternatives, which may assist you in identifying possible alternatives that would best suit your requirements when you need to change. See the Internet Access Alternatives page on the Info wiki.
If you want further information about your choices here, and how to continue to access PCUG member emails and other benefits, we'd encourage to to make use of the group's "users helping users" ethos by coming along to one of the SIGs (eg. Beginners, Coffee & Chat, or the Plain English Computer Chat Group) to talk with others about their experience and knowledge. Details of these groups may be found on the Special Interest Groups page on the main PCUG website. Details of their meetings are listed in the group's Calendar. Or you could send an email to one of their mailing lists.
We regret that we needed to take this decision, given that TIP has been a key activity of PCUG for nearly 2 decades. However as we have been advising for some time, and as we discussed at the AGM, the internet access environment has changed beyond recognition over this time. When TIP was first established, there was a need for an affordable internet access alternative for our members, and TIP became one of the first ISPs providing general access. Now though, internet access has become a high volume, very low margin, utility service. Further the regulatory environment has become much more difficult. Both of which mean that small providers, such as TIP, no longer have any realistic chance of competing. Indeed, the industry is currently undergoing a major rationalisation, with smaller providers either being bought out or simply going out of business. It is rapidly consolidating to a handful of very large players. So it is time for us to exit, and to refocus the group's efforts and energy on our core mission of "users helping users".
Thankyou for your understanding as we make this major change in PCUG's operations.