Something went wrong -- very wrong -- with BigPond's software on Friday, preventing PCs from booting.
BigPond has admitted that the security software it provides to customers as a $10 monthly service (or $99.95 per year) has corrupted a large number of its customers' PCs, due to a faulty anti-virus signature update.
The ISP giant says the faulty patch was removed half an hour after being set live on Friday, after BigPond noticed a spike in customer tech support calls.
"A patch has been created and the vendor of the software has provided trouble-shooting steps to assist customers who downloaded the corrupt definition file," said Telstra spokesman Craig Middleton.
"The patch takes around 30 minutes to remove corrupt files, then allows users to restart their computer in normal mode."
"BigPond FAQs online are in the process of being updated to include trouble-shooting information for any customers impacted by this issue."
An APC reader who first reported the problem said his computer would not boot, and he was unable to get through to BigPond tech support, with wait times of three hours. He said he'd tried calling numerous times, and twice, the BigPond IVR system had disconnected him after keeping him on hold for hours.
He complained that BigPond was "keeping quiet" about the issue, and that there were no reported outages on the BigPond website. BigPond blocks customers of other ISPs from checking its service status page, so unless a customer has access to a secondary BigPond connection elsewhere, they cannot access service status at all.
"We apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers and longer than usual telephone assistance waiting times while we assist people affected," said Telstra's Middleton.