Worst of the worst: Photos of Australia’s copper network


photo gallery You don’t always have a perfect day. Some days, you just get out of bed on the wrong side of the bed, and things go wrong for you all day. Australia’s copper telecommunications network is like that. Most days it works OK, but on some days it’s just a shocker. And there’s a very good reason why — it’s old and in many areas it hasn’t been maintained very well.

These photos were sent in by Delimiter readers following our request over a week ago for some of the worst photos of the copper network in real life. What we’re seeking to do with this article is provide a realistic view into what the infrastructure which the nation relies on day in day out really looks like in some places, in the context of the current debate about upgrading it. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to send these photos in. It’s really appreciated. Also, if you have time, check out this thread on Whirlpool for further discussion of this issue.

The first photo is of a telecommunications pit outside a house in Sydney.

Now this is what we call a “temporary fix” situation.

On Playfield St, East Victoria Park, Western Australia. Another ‘temporary fix’.

Not quite sure where this came from, but it’s a doozy.

In this case, because of a “crushed duct”, a reader tells us, they have to share their phone/ADSL connection with their neighbour. This shot is from Adelaide, about 4KM from the nearest telephone exchange, and they get 300kbps downlink speeds, 60kbps up.

A noted local telecommunications expert from Adelaide sent these two gems in:

There’s a story behind this one. In the reader’s own words:

“Attached is a “brand new” installation (post bushfires) done by Telstra which despite being an opportunity for perfect wiring is not even wired into grounding. After 2 years of repeated requests to Telstra to fix it, this one exploded after a storm taking out most of the wiring in the brand new home built after the fires. The point here is that even with new wiring the quality of workmanship for copper to the home is being done to such poor standards and not even within legal parameters that we cannot depend on this approach any longer (grounding is a requirement for country because lightening strikes can pass thousands of volts through the equipment and cause not only damage but death. Certainly serious damage was done in this case).”

Truly a shocker.

In the reader’s own words:

“My phone line has been down for nearly a week now, due to this work three doors up from my house to repair a neighbour’s line that had water in it. Hers is now fixed but mine is down and went down when the tech was working in this pit.”


Inside one of Telstra’s exchanges. Urgh.

A shot taken in Petersham, Sydney:

The first in a series of shots taken of a Telstra pit:

The following photos come from the site canofworms.org, where Whirlpool user Magilla Guerilla has collected a variety of similar photos of the copper network. He has graciously given us permission to re-publish the photos on Delimiter.

And last, but not least, this is the installation which provides the Delimiter office with the broadband needed to publish articles every day. That blue cable you see there is where we got a handyman to run a new cable from this point through the roof, as the old cable was completely corroded. Our phone line sometimes still has problems connecting. Such robust infrastructure, isn’t it?

One question I’d like to ask readers following the publication of this article: In your opinion, is this copper network suitable infrastructure for meeting Australia’s telecommunications needs over the next 20-30 years?


  1. FYI I have this morning sent an email to the office of Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, inviting comment on this article, and asking, whether in his opinion, there are implications here for the Coalition’s planned upgrade of the network to fibre to the node technology. In short, is this a network worth upgrading?

    • Those are really bad Renai!

      But I think Malcolm is going to fall on deaf ears, they know that Coalition are in-front and will just ignore what everyone does.

    • Seems to me everything is just hanging on by a thread… a fibre network would never be able to get away with such dodgy work. If there is a problem you’ll know about it right away and it’ll have to be fixed properly. Perhaps now the Turnbull apologists can stop denying the fact that the copper is in such a deplorable state.

      Also a wise man once said that FTTN is “one of the biggest mistakes humanity has made” after seeing these pics if Australia goes down this path I fully expect us to become the laughing stock of the world… we will deserve it.

      • a fibre network would never be able to get away with such dodgy work

        The problem though isn’t dodgy work, this is the result of infrastructure that has been place for decades combined with cutbacks in the workforce supporting it.

        Really I don’t think anyone who works in the industry is surprised by these, or haven’t seen similar before.

        • But do the punters know? Does Tony the organ grinder know? Does Malcolm the monkey know? Does anyone care?

        • The state of the copper network is also in part due to Telstra being privatised and then forced to share it’s copper network with it’s competitors…. would you improve or bother to upgrade parts of your business if they directly made things better for your competitors??? Telstra obviously decided not to. They do the absolute minimum.
          FTTN will also cost as much as FTTH you need to power the boxes on the street curbs feeding the copper network, you need to still run FIBRE to these boxes in the process passing homes you could use FTTH for connectivity. That’s right you still need to install some fibre cable for the backbone. You still need to build a core backbone network.

          • Exactly right Scoob…a forgotten point in this debate was the ill founded decision by the coalition government to set an 800 pound gorilla loose in the market but with one leg chained up…partially and then fully privatising Telstra/Telecom. That said the Labour plan, like most of their schemes is well intentioned but poorly researched, executed and accounted for.

          • That said the Labour plan, like most of their schemes is well intentioned but poorly researched, executed and accounted for.

            Can you elaborate on this?

            How is it poorly researched? All the design doco I’ve read on it is quite impressive actually.

            Or are you saying this because of the current delays and rework being completed? Because the rollout is still well within the bounds of standard project constraints.

            …and it’s Labor, not Labour.

          • Poorly researched from a logistics point of view not necessarily technology (although I would argue some blind spots in relation to wireless technology exist). To decide on fibre and then try and work out how to get it in the ground (Telstra duct negotiations) is a little silly.

            The execution of said negotiations with Telstra is just silly…Telstra love it. Seasoned businessmen against hacks.

            I am aware of massive budget overruns within NBN co project not even related to the actual rollout but support systems.

            I am a fan of the concept of FTTP network but I am an incrementalist in this approach.

            …and thanks I know about the Labor thing mate (it’s spellchecker).

          • Actually it’s not Scoob. I’ve run ISPs, worked with telstra wholesale, and the reseller wholesale channel sells an absolute motherload more copper tails than Telstra ever could on their own. look at AAPT’s midband ethernet products for example. Telstra do make it very difficult for access seekers to get their ULLs, but this doesn’t translate into anything as they still get the equivalent profit as if they had an LSS service connected there.

            I admit I’ve been moderately technical in this post, and I’m not being rude, but if you don’t understand all the terms I’ve used in this post then you’re unqualified to have an opinion on this matter.

    • Renai, i take it you’ve never been out in the field. Pits are in the elements when it rains they flood, why because there are two holes in them so you can open them up. Its not meant to be clean data centre facilities where you have an antistatic mat when you walk in with air conditioned dust free environments.

      Most of the pics you posted are decomissed infrastructure, given there are 4000+ telephone exchanges and hundreds and thousands of pits and joints scattered all over the country from the CBD to some of the most remote parts of the country, through mountains and along creeks just to serve the farmer or hippy who choses to live there.

      A lot of the time when you open a pit anywhere you will see spiders and mud and all sorts of crap that gets washed in, you’d have to kill a few spiders first to get in and take out the joint or cable. You might get rats, possums, dog crap, bits of plastic rubbish etc… but you know what its like saying that the network is as clean as the cat5 cabling in your house… well it isnt.

      The components that go into a network in the external plant side and built for this, and just because it looks ‘dirty’ or ‘messy’ to you does not mean it is by no means faulty or poorly installed.

      So youve picked out a few pictures out of MILLIONS of bits of network in the ground ALL ACROSS AUSTRALIA from the big city to the most remote that I’m sure you would never even want to go to, and conclude that Telstra is neglient and the network is in shambles… Worst still you post a series of what looks like to be mostly decomissioned equipment and not all identifiable as being Telstra, or the work of Telstra, or the customer.

      I think your post is insulting to the field staff who work to keep the network running and YOUR CONNECTION dropping off… btw how many phone outages have you had in the last 5 years, or anyone else in this forum that is attributed to telstra and not some dodgy contractor. The network was built by telstra and telecom technicians who served it their entire working lives, some 30-40yrs …last thing they want to hear is some fool saying that the entire network that they built and continue to try to maintain under some very difficult circumstances due to OUTSOURCING AND PRIVATISATION that their network is rubbish, especially if you dont know what you are talking about.

      • What makes it even more interesting is that there are Telstra employees here that think this is acceptable, no one has pride in there work any more and this is a perfect example.

        • Apart from the pictures which depicit no problem at all, except for the untrained eye. The others look like a lot of decommissed stuff or damaged stuff which could be taken anywhere. I could find a dirty alley in any suburb or a bin that happened to fall over onto the street and say the streets are over run with rubbish. And the pics that show the krone strips and MDFs they look like they are at customer buildings there are a few telstra tags on a few which just says that there may have one been a service there at one time, probably no longer in service or the customer may have moved or the MDF relocated etc. etc. which could explain why its ripped out and you can actually get inside it and no ones come around to say “what are you doing in there….

      • [i]The network was built by telstra and telecom technicians who served it their entire working lives, some 30-40yrs …last thing they want to hear is some fool saying that the entire network that they built and continue to try to maintain under some very difficult circumstances due to OUTSOURCING AND PRIVATISATION…[i]

        That last bit is pure pish-posh.

        [i]….that their network is rubbish,[i]

        Come over to the Whirlpool thread and you’ll find out what techs actually think.

      • So, did anybody else notice the type of rounded plastic punchdowns used in these photos?

        You insert the wires, and clamp the other end with pliers. This crimps down on the wires, creating a secure connection. The clamping end (that is clamped down) is also filled with a sealing compound to keep the connections safe from the elements.

        Aside from the single photo showing the missing ground connection, and some of the photos with questionable mechanical considerations, I see no problem here.

        The second RIM picture posted is beautifully clean, the exchange is done nicely, with liberal use of cable ties, cable trays and bend radius.

        For a system that has had to withstand decades of use, splitting, repairs and cutbacks, this is in good shape.

        It’s clear that Renai, and indeed many of the outraged commenters here, have never worked with data cabling, let alone cabling outside datacentres.

      • As a career ADSL technician I completely agree – most of what’s in these pictures will still function perfectly fine. Not all techs can fix all problems, a lot of those broken pits and pillars get dispatched to special build teams with ETR’s up to 1 year. You showed a lot of private infrastructure – Telstra isn’t responsible for your buildings internal cabling and joints – Delimiter, your MDF is horrible – get your landlord to fix it, it’s his legal responsibility to provide you a working service as well! (However, I doubt this is the cause of any drop outs) The pictures of the exchanges were 110% fine, not a single problem there. I don’t believe it’s written anywhere in any ACMA standards or cablers handbook that rural properties must have the telecoms earth attached – this is always optional as it’s considered legacy – post-bushfire when a lot of city-based CT’s were out, how do you expect them to know? My biggest problem is DIY’er’s … 9 out of 10 premises I visit aren’t cabled to ACMA standards – this isn’t lazy contractors, this is people that *think* they know what they’re doing (no contractor is lazy enough to twist conductors together when it’s faster to use a proper scotch-lok). Telstra contractors are paid the bare minimem, and it only just covers their own costs (vehicle, tools, insurances etc) … in the end, you get what you pay for and this article does a terrible job of highlighting the problems with Australia’s copper access network!

        • Yes much of the issues are in MDFs and in privately owned copper.

          This is precisely the problem being left out of Coalition statements on cost.

          The state of many MDFs is woeful. The copper from the MDF to the premises is also highly dubious.

          If an FTTN network is rolled out it may take out much of the Telstra copper infrastructure, what it then leaves is faulty wiring from the MDF to the tenant.

          Who pays for the MDF to get sorted? Who pays for fixing the wiring from the MDF to the outlets?

          The cost issue shifts from the NBN to the consumer – it doesn’t go away now or ever!

          Also consider the work to make sense of all the incorrect pair maps – and connecting the subscriber’s line pair at the node? Then pulling apart a birds nest at the MDF to make the connection actually work!

          So the costs of the FTTN are in no way accurately judged by reference to an overseas network as the practices and state of documentation are diffferent.

          The costs saved by not running fibre to the premises is later replaced by fixing the failing or unworkable copper at the user’s expense.

          The cost of tracing pairs round the blocks in the MDF should either be added to the NBN costing or will be paid by the consumer.

          Believe me I have had to actually make sense of MDF patching to solve issues left from Telstra techs confirming the line worked by breaking it by cross patching across lines. Went from poor DSL to nothing by Telstra repair.

      • A couple of years ago due to bad dropouts on my service, I watched a Telstra contract repair man fix the problem. The issue was that the copper wires were swimming in water. So he wrapped them in plastic, put a piece of wood across the pit and hung the plastic bag from that to keep the wires (hopefully) out of the water. Then he told me how disgusted he was with the quality of his repair, saying that was the extent of maintainance that he was allowed to do by Telstra on its copper network. Well, so far it has worked…

    • See what happens when you allow contractors into your network, the $ is their only concern therefore, not doing their job properly.

      • Sorry but the Telstra network and the MDFs were a mess long before contractors were allowed to touch it.

    • After trying to make a call on our buzzing, crackling phone line, I can safely say the copper is not worth keeping.
      I’ve called Telstra, who will send the local tech around to fix it, only for it to break again in a week to two months time (it depends on the weather) – as has been the case for the past 6 years. Telstra acknowledge that the cable needs replacing, (the line tech has also acknowledged this privately) but have straight out refused to do it.
      They stated as much directly to me over the phone on two occasions, even after the ongoing fault report was escalated to the highest level.
      We used to have a second line on a business plan, but got so sick of that one failing and dropping out (which started happening regularly after it was cut over to a pair-gain, following a grass fire that damaged the line) that it was disconnected.
      I’m sure in a few more years the line will fail completely and we will be forced to rely on mobile phones as happened to our neighbours, either that or start collecting ticket #.s again and go through the TIO.

  2. Definitely interested in hearing their/his reply!

    And those pictures…*shudders*… are horrible

  3. Maybe the Worst of the Worst, but the rest isnt that much better..
    You see some “fenceline” cables and “Cross paddock” stuff..
    Next time im out and about , i will try and remember to take some shots.

  4. I think the question needs to be asked – was the copper network and the access to its infrastructure worth a lazy 11 billion?

        • And whose job is it to maintain the pits and pit covers? There is one near my place which is a real trip hazard. Telstra has been informed, let’s see if it takes any action.

          • Around 2 years ago a blind 60+ year old staff member at my work tripped over one of these when out walking with her guide dog and broke her arm. I took some photo’s so she could chase up who was responsible, I don’t think anything came from it. Today Tonight would have had a field day with the story, but I think she just wanted to put the whole thing behind her.

          • Some years ago early one morning while I was riding my push bike to work I suddenly came across a gaping trench across the bike path I came off over the handle bars and ended having a few days off work, my bicycle needed new fronts forks and a new front wheel .
            Telstra had dug a trench across a public bike path with no sort of safety barrier or signs of any kind , after many phone calls I was basically told that if I wanted to make a big deal out of it I would need to get a lawyer. Nobody I spoke to at Telstra gave a flying #@7k and I believe it’s endemic of the culture at Telstra right down to the Tech on the street who thinks shoddy workmanship is OK, you don’t need a trained eye to see incompetent workmanship.

      • The payments were for several things such as duct access and customer transfers aswell as other miscillaneous items.

        Copper leasing was not one.

        • True that it covered more than just access, but the ducts are full of copper, and looking at these pics in a pretty sorry state… so the question remains who wins out of this payment or as i said – was it worth it?

  5. And after my last set of complaints to Telstra about the shoddy repair work on my line – these pictures prove how dodgy the network really is!

    Now get stable internet after a number of times Technicians had to be sent out with fault detection equipment!

  6. What’s wrong with the Telstra exchange photos? Cable tunnels are hardly designed to be pretty, the MDF looks fine, and the old operator desk won’t have been used for 30 years.

  7. with xx.xx Billions in profit every year i think perhaps its the company who is meant to be managing, maintaining and building the cold coper networks fault. Its shocking and a mess, If it was a restaurant they would be shut down.

    yes the new network is needed because of the horrid state of the old copper network, but who let it get so bad!!! while using dump trucks to move around their cash.

    • The point you’re missing is copper networks have reached the end of their usefulness whether they are well maintained or not. It’s the technology which is out of date. We’ve been using copper since the invention of the telephone, and now there is another medium. The copper would have been replaced regardless how it functioned.

  8. Handyman to run a data/comms cable?

    I’m sure you didn’t actually mean a ‘handyman’ per se, but perhaps a handy registered cabler?

  9. Gosh, some of you think this is bad? I will have to start taking pictures! there’s telstra pits around the place with no lids, telstra fencing around them that have been there for years, it just sits there until someone flogs the safety barrier, then there’s an open pit sitting there. When Telstra was sold off no one there gave a damn and it shows.

    It took the guy two days to do something with my line, all the connections were corroded and the pit full of water, the sad part is once he fixed mine he left the rest for the next guy to repair.

    • I am a bit late to the party but your comment reminded me that I need to fill out paperwork again so that I get a 24hour repair guarantee.
      I moved house and unfortunately they don’t let you take your old guarantee with you.

  10. Looking at these picture and while I admit the intention of the article may be slanted it begs the question that in any serious FTTN network repairs or replacements will be needed, since the principal cost of this network is labour (as in workers, not the party) is it really going to be wworth going FTTN?

    The next point is even if you can say yes to this, is it really going to stand up to scrutinty for the next 15+ years the way Telstra is running it into the ground?

    As for where Telstra’s money is going, I can bet a significant portion is keeping its mobile network competitive because that is where the large profits are.

    • The “large profits” used to be in the fixed line network. But that did not guarantee a good standard of maintenance.

      Hopefully, the deal between NBN and Telstra makes it clear whose responsibility it is to maintain the pits. Whoever is the beneficiary of that deal will be big enough and knowledgeable enough to require the work to be done. Properly.

  11. Why are they putting shit on the cooper network, some of these photos are of the customer side which you can hardly blame telstra for, if there are open pits or barriers for years, why don’t people report them, i guess people are too lazy to bother as its someone elses problem, not their own. customner cabling will still be an issue post nbn or fibre to the node. off course its easier to blame the carrier for things that the customer should be paying for.

    • Yes, but you can’t really blame the customer for it either, as they’re not allowed to touch it (unless they are a licensed cabler).

    • Sorry what? How is it the publics fault for not telling Telstra to come and finish a job they started?

      I’ll walk into our server room, turn off server, open it up and then I’ll leave. If in a day someone complains that it’s not usable, it’s a perfectly acceptable excuse to say “Well no-one came and told me I should put it back together”?


      • Staff may forget to pass the job on to someone that is more quailfied, or the tech may have been on his last day and couldnt give a rats to pass it on, the company can not be blaimed for this, people should not winge and just simply re report thats what i do and it gets done quite quickly actually, how can they fix problems if they don’t know about them!

        • I’d like to think that jobs are logged and are kept track of. If someone doesn’t pass it on, or it’s left without notice for a tech that’s leaving, it’d still show up as needing attention.

          If something is closed off and it’s incomplete, that is indeed the company’s fault as it’s entirely their responsibility. Again, how you can blame the consumers for this is beyond me.

        • A big part of the issue according to a bunch of ex Telstra techs I worked with is with Telstra out-sourcing piece work to contractors with no real interest or motivation to keep the network maintained well. Quite the opposite, their motivation is purely in ripping through as many jobs as possible.

          I understand some of these ex Telstra techs might have their own agenda against the rise in use of contractors, but I have to agree from my own observations that many of the contractors used by Telstra don’t seem to care too much about keeping the networked maintained well. As evidence of that, I’d suggest you look at a sample of most MDF record books from the last few years compar to the same from 15 years ago.

          • And where do you think most contractors have come from-ex Telstra the majority of them. Most AWA techs are no better with payment per job completed.

          • This is true. And they are paid on a per-job basis so the quicker the “Fix” any problem at hand the quicker they get onto their next paying job. I remember when Telecom had linesmen that knew what they were doing .

          • The current state of the network is the inevitable outcome of paying per job especially when the customer is a householder who never sees the finished job and will sign off when the phone works…for the time being.

            Large bonuses for creating short term profits in the banking industry has had the same result, only writ much larger.

  12. Seems to me that a lot of these pictures are of MDFs in flood damaged or abandoned buildings. Flooded pits, and vandelized termination points. There are a lot of residential terminations shown here as well which would have been done with external contractors or even unlicensed people tinkering with the cabling.

    Will a fibre network be any better? It will look better because it would be freshly installed. These pictures would look a lot different if they were taken at the time on install. Most of the cables showing would still be 100% working. Most of these pictures look staged.

    Propaganda published by the NBN supporters – of which are getting paid by the NBN or have something to gain from the NBN being installed.

    Yes it will look nice an pretty… Yes we might get faster speed… But the maintenance cost is not only expensive but more time consuming. and once it is finally installed the technology will not only be mediocre the working life of the actual cable will be half over.

    At least with the FTTN structure they would be able to get it rolled out in 1/3 the time and a fraction of the cost… if THEN the public is still not happy they could then roll out Fibre to the household in areas that need it..

    Someone is making an extraordinary amount of money out of this NBN and it definately isn’t the Australian Public…. we are the ones funding this lead balloon.

    • Rubbish.

      1. No one is getting paid by NBN co to publish articles here or make comments.
      2. Maintenance on fibre is less than maintenance on copper by a long way,
      3. Who knows how much FTTN will cost or how long it will take, the coalition aren’t providing any details to tell.
      4. FTTN is a stop gap solution an will need to be upgraded to FTTH anyway.
      5. Roll out fibre if not happy with FTTN, what a waste of money. It’s obvious FTTN will only meet requirements short term. If they put it in 4-5 years ago dine. Now it’s plain waste.
      6. Keep posting around the boards with this rehashed reply. IS it you or you just cut and paste the standard party response?

      • Noddy,
        You want my response?

        1. No one is getting paid by NBN co to publish articles here or make comments.

        Someone IS getting paid to publish articles about the positives of NBN – or I should say the Negatives on the FTTN otherwise these articles would not surface. you are living in la la land if you think not.

        2. Maintenance on fibre is less than maintenance on copper by a long way,

        I am a registered Network Cable installer and I know the cost of maintenance and repair. Fibre repair consumes a lot more time than copper repair. When you take into account the tooling required, the time required, the testing required, and the fact that in 25 years you are going to have to rip it out and start from scratch….

        3. Who knows how much FTTN will cost or how long it will take, the coalition aren’t providing any details to tell.

        Obviously NBN Co does. You cant get FTTH without the FTTN Where is the Fibre from my front door going to end up? in a magic cloud? No…. it is going to the exchange which is what…. A FLIPPIN NODE ! and if they ain’t got Fibre to the node… then what?

        4. FTTN is a stop gap solution an will need to be upgraded to FTTH anyway.

        No… FTTN is the first step to building the network. It is the foundation of the complete solution. You going to build a house Room by Room from the ground up? Get real…

        5. Roll out fibre if not happy with FTTN, what a waste of money. It’s obvious FTTN will only meet requirements short term. If they put it in 4-5 years ago dine. Now it’s plain waste.

        See point 3

        6. Keep posting around the boards with this rehashed reply. IS it you or you just cut and paste the standard party response?

        Posting around the boards?…This was a once off post, not cut and pasted, not re-hashed, unlike a lot of the propaganda that has been plastered in this thread.

        Where does most of our data come from? OVERSEAS… what will having HUGE bandwidth do for us is the data is trickling in from congested O/S links. Most of the problems with speed is the exchanges have not been upgraded. By the time the NBN is finished…. if it ever does get finished… the 4G Wireless network and with 5G just around the corner – Korea already looking at rolling 5G out. – By 2021 we will be stuck connected to a socket in the wall.

        • Chris said: “Where does most of our data come from? OVERSEAS… what will having HUGE bandwidth do for us is the data is trickling in from congested O/S links. Most of the problems with speed is the exchanges have not been upgraded. By the time the NBN is finished…. if it ever does get finished… the 4G Wireless network and with 5G just around the corner – Korea already looking at rolling 5G out. – By 2021 we will be stuck connected to a socket in the wall.”

          Those overseas links are fibre and have massive capacity. Wireless is not a solution, for a start it’s massively expensive compared to ADSL/fibre or and it bottlenecks in a way fibre won’t. Also, there’s not much more efficiency to be wrung out of wireless, whereas fibre has also demonstrated capacity far beyond the assumptions that the NBN was based on.

          • Firstly you can get a univeristy Phd or professor to say whatever you want, just pay the guy. You can get international consultants to do the same, you can get guys like Google, MS, Verizon, Cisco, alcatel etc.etc. to say what you want them to, if you offer them finanical and commerical incentive. And finially you can pay KPMG to write you up a business study to make ANYTHING viable, why… if you trusted governments, consultants and experts, who wouldnt have a GFC!

            There really needs to be a purely independent cost benefit analysis on this project and more infromation declassified,otherwise it just a shambles. if they do an independent study and it holds up,then no one should stand in the way, but unfortunately all this is a govt with a minority govt yielding to independents and with lack of any policy at all will have to run with last years fluke of a win in hope that a dud might win it a second term….


            BTW… Delimiter = TROLL

        • “You want my response?”
          If you have anything more than just unsupported assertions.

          “Someone IS getting paid to publish articles about the positives of NBN – or I should say the Negatives on the FTTN otherwise these articles would not surface. you are living in la la land if you think not.”

          Me living in “la la land” or not is not a valid argument. Show some evidence. Sure there are some paid stuff and it is clearly marked as such. Or is your name Fletcher?

          “I am a registered Network Cable installer and I know the cost of maintenance and repair. Fibre repair consumes a lot more time than copper repair. When you take into account the tooling required, the time required, the testing required, and the fact that in 25 years you are going to have to rip it out and start from scratch….”

          Are you really? Any good at it? I have seen completely the opposite claims on maintenance and life of copper. I think I will believe those with verifiable credentials.

          “Obviously NBN Co does. You cant get FTTH without the FTTN Where is the Fibre from my front door going to end up? in a magic cloud? No…. it is going to the exchange which is what…. A FLIPPIN NODE ! and if they ain’t got Fibre to the node… then what?”

          That answers nothing. There is still not figures put out on the cost of FTTN other than Turnbulls it’s cheaper. Even if it is it will need to be replaced with FTTH and the end result cannot be cheaper than never wasting time on a short term interum solution

          “No… FTTN is the first step to building the network. It is the foundation of the complete solution. You going to build a house Room by Room from the ground up? Get real…”

          That’s just gibberish. Yes you need nodes for the fibre distribution or FTTN, the difference is the guts of those nodes are completely different and the VDSLAM would need to be thrown away and replaced. Another waste is wiring them for power when that would not be needed once you move to FTTH. VDSL2 from those nodes is a waste of money. Also no one seems to have thought about how PSTN will work, does everyone have to move to VOIP?

          “See point 3”
          Just as amusing the second time.

          “Posting around the boards?…This was a once off post, not cut and pasted, not re-hashed, unlike a lot of the propaganda that has been plastered in this thread.”
          Rubbish, I have seen these same points posted ad infrinitum for the last few years.

          “Where does most of our data come from? OVERSEAS… what will having HUGE bandwidth do for us is the data is trickling in from congested O/S links. Most of the problems with speed is the exchanges have not been upgraded. By the time the NBN is finished…. if it ever does get finished… the 4G Wireless network and with 5G just around the corner – Korea already looking at rolling 5G out. – By 2021 we will be stuck connected to a socket in the wall.”
          You better get a better ISP, I have no problem saturating my 15Mb link with an overseas connection.
          Wireless 4G or otherwise isn’t worth shit. Great for non important, low volume, but hardly the answer for
          general home use.
          With idiotic remarks like that I take it you lay cables but have no tech background.

          • Fibre installs and testing take longer and are more costly, also the faults also more common. the reason is fibre is less resilient than copper, but it is rolled out to premium services because addition cost is involved in maintaining the fibre link at all points.

            Its also more difficult to do diagnostics with fibre and the equipment more expensive. This is because its optical, while copper is purely electrical-to-electrical, fibre is optical-to-electrical , there is an addition costly factor in that , one example is the instrumentation, the other is the inability to directly troubleshoot.

            while fibre sitting inthe ground stationary is fine, it is susceptible to damage that unlike copper if you bend it at too small a radius you will damage the fibre permanently, while this does not occur in copper and for installation it is far easier. while you could have a box or draw accidentally sitting on the copper or step on the phone line, something like this will permanently damage the fibre. i could literally pick up the fibre strand, pinch it with my fingers and it will be gone.

          • Responding to your paragraphs one at a time.

            The install cost and time of the fiber in this instance is the NBN rollout cost and time. Both these details are pretty well covered already.

            Well yes the testing equipment is more expensive, however I have no doubt NBN Co has included the cost of said equipment into their operational costs. And of course modern day transmission equipment is capable of monitoring statistical performance of each interface anyway, as well as performing remote testing. And of course field techs would be using OTDRs just like they do now with the current fiber networks.

            Fully agree fiber will break if you bend it too much, however it’s pretty easy to argue that in the environment copper is more susceptible. Meaning that fiber isn’t affected by the EMF from surrounding cables (since there isn’t any), water affects the copper connections more, etc. Also it should be pointed out the NBN fiber delivery is to the box outside your house, there is no fiber being laid in the premises and it’s all standard ethernet (or whatever the occupant chooses) internally. If you manage to drop a box on the NBN fiber then you’re doing something wrong.

          • um no… currently prices for an OTDR test result for one single fibre is $500. while in a copper pair all a tech needs to do is buzz it back and do a bit error test. In consumer ADSL it is far simpler. in addition OTDR results need to best analysed and because each FDH utilising WDM will require you to do traces for around 300 fibre tails to test to see if the fibre passes for each joint, and analysed for each wavelength. Much more specialised work than doing a BERT test on copper per line, the test on PON will not guarantee that each fibre tail will meet specs due to the sensitivity of fibre and possible bad or imperfect splicing at each joint. Guess that is the “cost” of boasting to offer a fibre capable of doing 1-10Gbps to every house for “future proof” to up to 30yrs (about the life of the fibre) and having next to no take up to that premium service product. get my drift? bit of overkill and the price will reflect this.

            In addition the equipment isnt cheap, an entry level fibre tester will cost around 20K, and not all techs carry these , they may carry a splicer which they do “share”. the cost is in the man hours in analysing the data for the sensitive WDM equipment which is used by PON in addition to db losses of each wavelength.

            And no, only premium grade equipment have built in OTDR, we are talking 100K equipment, and if you look at PON it is only at the uplink fibre which this would be possible, as this fibre gets split into up to 32 fibres, which is not possible to remote test thiss scenario.

            But the true cost comes in at the civils build ,ie.the labour and equipment of doing civils work and problems encountered wtih brownfield upgrades which is the most complex and costly builds you could do, esp. in existing built up areas. Another reason why FTTP had been only viable for greenfield or large apartment blocks.

            The cost of splicing is also great in that it is far more specialised and delicate than copper which requires a soldered electrical joint , while splicing is a precision practice that requires the core of the fibre to be perfectly splice and does require a skilled technician, otherwise it would result in failure or eventual failure of the link.

            but the main point here is that the overkill is not obvious, it is the promise of being able to deliver 100-1G or 10G which is reserved for premium commerical use for this reason, and why DSL and copper was the choice for broadband delivery as it has advantages in robustness. But being able to “future proof” is other word for over building or engineering, and the “cost” comes with providing “capability” which will never been taken up.

          • also EMF? nothing todo with copper DSL services,water in joints? they are easily repaired. A good example is the resilience of the existing copper network and how it has stood up over faults over decades, personally ive never experienced a faulty line, some would have, but the issues relating to copper as being suspectible to faults is over stated, and a copper network PROPERLY MANAGED (ie. not outsource to dodgy contractors) is minimal in problems other than routine maintenance.

          • also EMF? nothing todo with copper DSL services

            What, are you trying to tell me ULLs don’t generate EMF that can be induced into other ULLs in the same cable bundle?

          • I understand what you’re saying, but the problem is you seem to be referencing what it would take Telstra to upgrade it’s current network and forgetting that the NBN is a purpose built solely fiber network. The field techs have to carry OTDRs and the like as fiber will be the predominate layer1 connection they will be using.

          • Maybe, but I see you’ve avoided my above question, here’s it repeated and a couple more.

            1/ Do ULLs generate EMF that can be induced into other ULLs in the same cable bundle?
            2/ Are ULLs susceptible to outside broadcast transmission from AM radio networks?
            3/ Why did Telstra lay fiber in South Brisbane?

            The 3rd question of course mutes your argument on costing, it would have been cheaper for Telstra to build another exchange and lay copper to existing pits and pillars and use the existing infrastructure from there to the end customers. But they didn’t do that, and all expenses in maintaining the fiber network aside realised it was the way of the future and did a full rollout in the area.

          • I should point out too that questions 1 and 2 won’t be evident in the photographs at the top, because they could look like very happy and clean setups, but really have the most problems.

            It’s like going to a hospital, you can’t judge the sickest person by the way the look, often times the worse off person in the room (or in our case infrastructure) is the one that from a visual perspective looks the best.

          • I LOLed at your comment about being in the hospital waiting room quietly waiting as I have been there.
            I was quietly waiting in A&E while having a killer lung collapse listening to children screaming and snide comments when I walked into the working area a minute later.
            Some of the people felt disgruntled that they had to wait with crying children and their own loved ones while I seemed to walk straight in on my own feet and was seen to immediately while the pressure of the air leaking into the space around my lungs was trying to crush my heart and other major organs.
            I guess I should have I died in the waiting room surrounded by happy people patiently waiting their turn.

        • This may or not be representative of the whole network. What concerns me most is the idea behind the symptoms.

          We all should no that is copper is not maintained sufficiently it becomes less effective over time, one of the obvious ways this happens for your ADSL connection is when it rain your speed will likely drop, I know mine does. This is often because of poorly used joins and improperly sealed cables. Since copper uses electric signals rather than light pulses (like fibre) it is more prone to interference because of this.

          My other concern is that this shows to me a systematic lack of regard for the intergrity of this country’s telecommunications system. While it may still work sufficiently can we honestly state that this kind of system will old up for much longer without significant reinvestment in improving the condition of th cables. Furthermore we must ask ourselves for FTTN to work we need minimum copper quality standards in order to make it effective, how much reinvestment in relayin and repairing will this require? With all the additional work that may be required it does not make sense to go with a FTTN system which even on its own merits has nothing to offer AUstralia in the future.

    • Yes I admit it Chris, I have something to gain…

      Better comms for me, my family, my families family and all Aussies, even YOU and your family…

      Now that you know my motive/agenda, what’s your’s?

    • “Yes we might get faster speed”

      LOL might.

      “if THEN the public is still not happy they could then roll out Fibre to the household in areas that need it”

      So the speed I get is determined by other households in my area rather than my own individual needs, interesting… that sounds like a rather communistic plan to me.

      “At least with the FTTN structure they would be able to get it rolled out in 1/3 the time”

      1/3 of the time starting in 2016 with a completion date of 2019 when it’s time to upgrade to fibre.

      “and a fraction of the cost”

      Do you have a specific figure or are we to just take your word for it that it’ll be “a fraction of the cost”? More to the point what will this FTTN patchwork cost us in the long term, are you able to look beyond your nose to the future after 2021?

      “Someone is making an extraordinary amount of money out of this NBN”

      So where exactly to you think all that money is going? Hint: It doesn’t just evaporate people spend it and the cycle continues… It’s called progress and it’s called employing people.

      “we are the ones funding this lead balloon.”

      Wow a new slogan.

    • Chris, I agree to some extent. These photo’s are the worst of the worst, and yet they demonstrate the robustness of “old” (i love the demonising) copper. Copper which 50 years ago only carried voice, fifteen years ago carried 9.6kbps, and now runs 20 megabits per second.
      At $9,000 per household I seriously question the wisdom of the investment and at 15yr lifespan I struggle with the 25 year repayment of aerial fibre. We won’t have paid for round one before it needs to be replaced.
      But being a simple person I struggled with the alcopops, insulation, school halls etc.

      • 20mbs? For some people maybe. I’m on copper and i get 5mbs. And there are still people less lucky than me. Speeds aside, the widespread unequal access is a real problem.

        And I’m guessing the copper has been maintained/replaced periodically over the last 50 years…..

      • My dearly beloved copper gives me 1.3Mbps download on a really good day , 350kbps upload. We had to do an OS update for our laptop yesterday which started at 5pm and finished this morning just before 6am. Horrendous. FttN will do nothing for us because of the copper between us and the ‘node’, only fibre will fix it.

    • “Propaganda published by the NBN supporters – of which are getting paid by the NBN or have something to gain from the NBN being installed.”

      hi Chris,

      I just want to make it clear that I have not been paid a cent by NBN Co for any of our coverage, and there is no direct advertising relationship with NBN Co on Delimiter. If they did advertise with us, that would be clearly marked as advertising, including if they purchased a sponsored post.

      Given these facts, a warning. If you air your allegation again on Delimiter that we are paid stooges, I will ban you from the site for the rest of this year.

      Please see our comments policy here:




  13. LOL at the defenders on this! Telstra robs Australia blind and seems that some are ok about it…

    • yep, just think of all that money that ended up Telstras pocket. They could have improved the network, they could have upgraded the network, they could have rolled out FTTH but instead chose to keep fleecing everyone. Now the apologists want us to roll out FTTN now and FTTH later when we could and should be skipping it all together.

  14. I wondering what will happen when the NBN roll out is complete, will this NBN be maintain for the next 30+ years like Tel$tra ? Or are we all over the same problem in the future ?

    No wondering all the broadband over copper is not up to scratch, Tel$tra wont fix completely when there is problem , all they do is band-aid solution as long it is over 40kps is acceptable to Tel$tra where oversea managed high speed.

    • The NBN maintenance will be fine as long as the government doesn’t flog it off. If they privatise it, it will go the same way as Telstra’s infrastructure maintenance.

  15. Interesting article, and more than a little scary. How can anyone think the last mile of copper is in any way sufficient for next generation broadband? Even if the copper and terminations were in pristine condition, the bandwidth limitations copper imposes could mean you just reach 100mbps if you live near an exchange, but what about then? In 5-10 years 100mbps will be a regular mainstream speed, leaving no room for growth, unless billions of further dollars are invested upgrading FTTN to FTTH. And that’s presuming the coalition even have such a definitive plan for FTTN, given we’re yet to see any details of their so called alternative broadband plan.

    Please let the NBN continue at full speed. We need all these shitty copper connections gone for good.

  16. Telstra has taken enough money and got rid a lot of jobs in Australia making billions of $$$ its just a bloody big disgrace……

    No wonder Australia gets laughed at because its so called “telecommunications” infrastructure.

    *flips the bird at Telstra*

  17. Let’s not forget also that while these appear to just be photos of the copper network, people depend on these shabbily maintained cables for their very lives in millions of homes accross the country.

    Not just to call emergency services when someones life is in jeopardy (could be yours some day), but for their businesses and to communicate with family.

    Telecommunications is one of the things we most take for granted on a daily basis, and when your line goes faulty you know it straight away because we are so dependent on these corroding copper lines, and will be even moreso in the future.

    When people say this copper network can’t carry us into the future, actually it could be said it can barely carry us into the now, let alone the future.

    Most people in this country don’t even know or understand how badly we need Labors fibre to the home national broadband network, our very future depends on it.

    Total government investment is $27 billion, the rest comes from the private sector and the entire project will return a 7% profit unless Abbott and the LNP interfere with the original plan.

    If Labors NBN is put in jeopardy, our GDP will suffer, there is no two ways about it.

    The best thing about Labors NBN is that the very fibre cable being installed will last almost forever into the future, as technology improves we can upgrade the equipment on either end of the fibre cable, the actual fibre cable is just glass transmitting light and is therefore infinitely upgradable.

  18. One doesn’t have to worry about phone hacking with copper like this. Phone tapping would be far easier.

  19. Also of concern is the state of the person’s toenail in the pic immediately above the exchange pics.

    Looking at some of this stuff (even the exchange pics) i don’t honestly think it would be possible for a not terrible technician to work on this infrastructure without making some mistakes. what a mess.

  20. The NBN isn’t in jeopardy. It’s far too advanced now to be abandoned. It will be one of a thousand things Abbott has promised to overturn in government and never will.

    You can’t just take power and reverse 6 years of government policy.

    • What concerns me is a quote from Abbott:

      “Afterall, what is done by legislation can be undone by legislation”.

      That’s my greatest fear.

      • It’ll be a very interesting couple of years with Abbott in power. He’ll either stick to his word and spend years + billions of dollars repealing everything, or he’ll put on a sorry face, tell the electorate he can’t, and get turned on by the frothing plebs.
        I predict Joe Hockey leadership spill by 2015 and I’m going to seriously consider becoming a boat person.

        • Is there room for me and my cat on that boat? Because if Hockey ever leads the country, I’ll be looking to flee ASAP too. Actually if Abbott leads I think we should probably hit the water as well.

        • Is there room for me and my cat on that boat? Because if Hockey ever leads the country, I’ll be looking to flee ASAP too. Actually if Abbott leads I think we should probably hit the water as well.

    • The NBN hasn’t progressed to a point that Abbot can’t stop it – he can have finalised whatever he absolutely can’t get out of and transition the rest to FTTN. That will lease some people with modern telecoms and the rest of us with garbage.

  21. Mind = blown.

    This is a great news story/idea Renai. There are some seriously troubling pictures in there, it’s a real eye opener.

  22. Delimiter gets more naive each day as it drones on about the NBN. Speak to Telstra who has the role of maintaining the existing copper network and the vandals who help to destroy it. I have seen traiinsin worst shape. The exact same challenges will face the NBN. If that is the best you can do, you do not have much.

    I think Delimiter is incapable on publishing a balanced article on the NBN.

    • You maybe surprised. Over time I have seen Renai moved from middle of the road, leaning toward anti NBN to now, if not pro NBN, I think he sees it as the best alternative. The reason? There haven’t been convincing alternatives, nor convincing reason for it being bad. The only negatives put foward seem to most either lies or not based in fact.

      On Telstra “Speak to Telstra who has the role of maintaining the existing copper network”
      They did, then Sol Amigo fire all the people doing that and put 1/5th of them on contract. They are over worked, get paid per callout and to fix the current problem. They get paid the same whether they slap it together or do a neat job. Much incentive to sit there for a few hours ficing connections and sealing against water? Or a recipe for plastic lunch bags and cable ties?

    • You’ve see trains in worse shape? So do you go to multiple blogs whinging about the cost of trains and saying we don’t need them too?

    • “I think Delimiter is incapable on publishing a balanced article on the NBN.”

      I have historically been quite anti-NBN, due to the lack of competition which it will engender, and the return to an oligopolistic market structure which will eventuate.

      However, over time I have become persuaded of the project’s merits. When you go into all the policy aims which the NBN will meet, it’s hard to see how any other policy could meet the same objectives. In addition, the project is expected to at least break even. Given that Australia will thus have hugely upgraded telco infrastructure, essentially for free, and that the issues of broadband blackspots, network quality, long-term reliability of telco infrastructure and more will be addressed (not to mention separating Telstra), it’s hard not to agree with the project as a whole.

      That doesn’t mean I won’t be critical of NBN Co when merited. I currently have a wide-ranging Huawei-related Freedom of Information request in with NBN Co — a FoI request which I am wrestling with the company daily over. And I was very strongly critical of NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley during the 2010 election, for his political partisanship in announcing the 1Gbps speed upgrade, at a very politically sensitive time.

      Balance is a false god of journalism, and its flaming sword is a word called “bias”. The true god of journalism is “truth”, not balance. And the truth is that Australia’s copper network, in many, many locations, is very poorly maintained.

      Plus, if you don’t like this article, I encourage you to go and read the “truth” being put out by News Ltd outlets about the NBN.

    • Just 4 years ago, in the middle of a telephone call my phone line went dead. It took Telstra over 12 months to locate the fault. During that time we were told it was the line inside the flat – we replaced it all – to no avail. We were told the problem was in the MDF – they couldn’t find it, my techy type partner finally found it and inside the wiring was wrapped in two plastic Safeway bags – surprisingly, that wasn’t the problem. The copper wiring had actually broken on it’s route to our flat. The copper is worn out and past it’s use by date – end of story…

  23. I think Delimiter is incapable on publishing a balanced article on the NBN.

    You obviously haven’t been a reader here for long. Delimiter has given The Coalition and Turnbull every opportunity possible to outline alternative broadband plans or ideas in detail. There have also been numerous articles that have examined NBN problems in detail, often quite critically.

    Even if Delimiter was pro-NBN so what? Is it really that wrong for one of Australia’s leading technology sites to be in support of next generation broadband infrastructure that will benefit all Australians for decades to come?

  24. Why the fuss? Having a steampunk phone system is really cool. Mind you, I have never used “the internet” and only make calls to mt mum who lives round the corner.

  25. While walking my dog, I found a broken lid over one of these pits. it was located in the nature strip where people probably wouldn’t see it in the dark.

    So I decided to do the right thing and report it.

    When I went there a few days later, there was a barrier around it, and I thought that was ok… but when I went past a month or so later and the barrier was still there, and the hole hadn’t been fixed…. well…

    • That’s the problem with public companies. The same thing happened with British rail when the privatised. Each CEO wants to maximise his income, his bonuses. To do that you increase income and cut costs. Unfortunately since the CEO system is a revolving door you can’t let the infrastructure rot, not your problem, and they just gave you a huge bonus for doing it.

  26. Well I am glad I am not the only one seeing woeful maintenance, makes me wonder why I pay line rental for!

    Most MDF’s I come across are in a pitiful state, records if any are not kept current, cabling is a pigs breakfast etc. Pits.. well the ONLY time I have seen anyone at Telstra do something with a pit in < 6 months was when I spoke to our account exec because some kids had smashed an asbestos pit, they got onto that within a few days. Every other time(3 times in total) we have let them know of an issue its been over 6 months before anything was done, if at all.

    I spoke to a linesman who said the problem he had was a job that would take a day or a few hours to fix properly he was only given half an hour to do and he would have his boss ringing up saying get to the next job.. so he was frustrated that he just patched things up(polite way of saying what he actually said).

    I deal with the line techs fairly often and most I dont find too bad, they are just pressured like hell to do as many jobs as quickly as they can, so nothing gets fixed properly.

  27. These definitely highlight the worst parts of the network. The picture that took my attention was the one that was installed new after the fires. How on earth does that work that something that was just put in new is broken and left like that again?

  28. I think these pictures show how good copper is. The fact that it can still carry signal even with all of this damage. Fibre could never do that. Really leads me to the thinking why are we spending any money upgrade it – FTTH, FTTN or otherwise. Why don’t we just get Telstra to properly maintain the network as they are required to!

    In a time of economic downturn, is it really prudent to be spending multi billions of dollars on upgrading something that already works? Surely there are more important things to be spending multi-billions on. However, no one in the IT/Comms industry would agree with that – they are all making a fortune off it.

    • Jogga you are right, why would you expect the big t to maintain a network only for companies like iinet/internode etc to cherry pick and make a profit from, if they are making profits for the shareholders they thats fine, but not for shareholders of other companies.

      • Oh my have we entered the a time warp and gone back to NWAT 2005?

        You do realise the one proviso Telstra had to make their billions from the PSTN was to “allow PAID access to competitors”.

        Yes iinet etc paid them for access and after paying, fancy them expecting Telstra to make it work for them…!

    • Jogga, the NBN funding IS NOT taking away from anything else, as the NBN is NOT being funded from income taxes.




      In fact you will find with our economy the way it is many investors abroad will find Aussie bonds quite a good investment. So the NBN in part is being financed by international investors.

      Quite clever when you think of it. Australia’s NBN being funded by overseas money, paying for us Aussies to have better, cheaper comms and an asset worth $b’s.

      Regardless yes, in times of economic downturn that’s exactly what you do “stimulate”…


      • Yes, but money does not grow on trees. Although the NBN may be funded by debt, this debt must be serviced and eventually paid back. Ultimately it will be the NBN consumer (or the government if the NBN is not able to obtain sufficient income to service the debt) who will service the debt. Shifting money around a balance sheet does not make it magically disappear (Enron, then the GFC taught us that).

        Holding everything else equal the consumer must be better off (from a cost perspective only – putting aside any benefits to an NBN) with the money not being spent on the NBN.

        Not to mention the fact that the Australian economy is subject to economic constraints and that increased government spending puts pressure on those constraints (crowds out private sector investment by increasing labour and other costs), which leads to interest rates increasing. By way of an example, if I run a company that wishes to build a private comms network. The cost to my company of building that network will be far greater under an NBN world (where all the skilled comms labour is tied up working on the NBN). This discourages private investment, and flows on to other sectors beyond IT/comm.

  29. I wonder wh the NBN infrastructure will look like in 10 years’ time? Also some of us live where the NBN may or may not come through our area, though we are a 10000+ town only 10km from a 70000+ city. Telstra has said it will not put in any new infrastructure and now it looks like it has been ‘let off the hook’ in maintaining it, seeing it has a agreement with NBN. Will you inner-city yuppies fight for us, or only for your high-speed pipeline?

    • Yuppies, please… if you want respect offer the same.

      Telstra have said they won’t, how convenient for them. After decades of Telstra neglect it’s now NBNCo’s fault.


    • One of the reasons I’ve been so pro-NBN is because of what it can do for people in regional and remote areas. It doesn’t matter where people live, plenty of city people do genuinely care whether people in the bush are looked after – time and time I’ve heard city people say that they don’t mind paying a bit more with their telecommunications services if it means country people get decent service.

    • Hey Relieved
      Many of us “Yuppies” either came from the country or have many family members living in said country so we are actually very supportive, in fact tree or sea change is not unreasonable as it is a return to a familiar environment , do however want little extra’s like good comms and broadband

  30. Fibre will look just as bad. There will still be cables, there will still be cable terminations, and there will still be cabinets and buildings. And there will still be vandals and other forms of damage.

  31. Renai,

    Again you miss the point of those who don’t support the NBN. Everyone knows the copper network is in disrepair. We give believe we should fix it not start again. These photos in fact prove that there are a lot of issues that can be fixed easily and this may increase accessibility very quickly. The great news for people like myself is that the end is near for the NBN! Gillard will fall very soon and with her the government she leads! I would say the backlash from the Budget will be the final straw. The only people that currently support the government are the free loaders and if they force a surplus out you can bet there won’t be any free loading!

    • As long as Telstra owns the copper network, it will be in poor condition. In the same way as any privatised utility ends up doing the utmost minimum in order to boost the bottom line. In any event, copper is yesterday’s technology, it simply can’t provide the service that will be required in 10-15 years – and you have to start building now to achieve it by then, you can’t wait 10 years for the entire system to collapse before admitting that you have to start a 10 year process to replace it. Not to mention copper is more expensive to maintain than fibre – do you have any idea what the copper price has done over the last year and what global reserves of copper are like?

    • Why does it make economic sense to repair something that is in such a state? When copper based technologies cannot compete (which means we cannot compete) why does it make sense to use FTTN and in order to maintain strong connections replace the copper runs? At the end of the day most of the cost is going to be labour, so repairing the entire (or even the parts that need it) copper network would be ludicrous.

      The fact is the Coalition have not got a coherent plan on almost anything, what are their solutions to current problems?

      1. Turn back the boats literally, wow Tony your must be a real doldrum.

      2. An as of yet unexplained NBN alternative, but its ok it is going to be cheaper! Although we don’t know how or if this is actually good for the economy.

      3. Their alternative to the carbon tax is to pay heavy polluters to invest in clean energy. SO we as the taxpayer have to pay people like Clive Palmer to do the right thing.

      4. They still cannot substantiate their surplus claims (although Laabor’s push for a surplus is also misplaced).

      Also the only people who support Gillard are free loaders? That is a very assumptious claim that you could not back up if your life depended on it. You are merely trying to belittle people because you do not have a coherent thought to post, back in your box chocolate.

      Before posting actually think, if you can……

  32. Face it Australian’s are fed up with shitty internet on antiquated copper lines….

    • +1 Greg,

      Even with the smoking gun, the perpetual critics still refuse to believe and are trying to make excuses or hide the facts :/

      • Sad state of affairs isn’t it when something can massively improve our telecommunications infrastructure to new levels and somewhat finally catch up to the rest of the world the critics wants to hold it back or stop it completely.

        Bring on the NBN and let the nay sayers left with their tin cans and a piece of string system whilst we move with progress with better future developments.

        Copper its time to really retire fibre is the way of the future…

        No more rims, no more dodgy phone line, no more having problems getting broadband into flats and units and so forth and so forth.

        • Sad and somewhat pitiful that some will put their blind political allegiances above everything else :/

          • Yes, I hate that. I don’t support any particular political party, football team or even Holden/Ford (how un-Australian of me). A HUGE majority of the time the arguments against the NBN are interspersed with political idealogoy, references to other things Labor has done, etc. It’s nice to argue something for or against on technical and practical merits without this political BS. If one party is making what i believe are good decissions, I will support of the one who isn’t. That said I don’t even buy into the insulation scheme and school halls crap. Yes, money was ripped off left right and centre. It’s a poor reflection of the morals of businesses and the Australian public more than the government. The government cannot personally monitor every little transaction on a major project. But the number of scamsters who saw the opportunity to benefit schools and children, to help those who are the poorest insulate their homes and save money on heating and saw it as a opportunity to make some quick cash are the ones that should be derided.

  33. So . . . There is what 8 million households in Australia connected to the cooper network.

    Most of these photos show stuff which is completely related to wiring that isnt at all related to telstra. There is about 10 photos their relating to telstra . . So not a bad job really

    10 areas of concerned out of 8 million 0.00000125% faults

  34. Some of these are pretty dodgy, but for the worst of the worst, I kind of expected worse.

    Those exchange pics look fine. Copper wiring is never particularly aesthetically pleasing. I’ve seen internal wiring (MDFs in office buildings, etc.) that makes Telstra’s work showcased here look like a perfectionist’s.

  35. So I had a Tesltra tech come out once to hook up the 2nd pair line what ever you call it for adsl to my house, it ended up not being viable.

    Part of him doing his checks was he broke the gel stuff around the wiring in the pit out front to hook up his gear, he didn’t replace this gel stuff when he was finished and so now in this pit, the wiring is open aired and can be water affected(effected?) now.

    • so did you get the adsl connected or what, why were you getting a second line connected for adsl, why didnt they replace the joints, or is it not causing an issue to your active and working service, why not report the issue when it rains, and keep rereporting they might then do something to fix it

      • I got my adsl connected on the line that was already being used, my plan was to get two adsl lines in and load balance across both.

        It wasn’t causing an issue at that time because it was only freshly exposed so nothing has had a chance yet to corrode. We’ve now moved out of that house.

        • You do realize that the gel that was removed is no longer used as it causes issues with the copper network. You need to thank the tech for not replacing it.

          • Ahhhh… SO what product SHOULD have been used? I assume *something* is required to keep water out of pits? Or are mini-ponds considered adequate these days?


  36. But yeah realistically if Telstra offered a 4g plan with 50gb downloads for $60 id prefer it over any cooper / fibre network..

    A car can still crash into a housing for any fibre network etc but to lose an entire 4G tower would be something special

  37. The NBN – a great idea but poorly sold and explained.
    I have no problems with public money being used on large scale public infrastructure but puh-lease don’t insult my intelligence by ever trying to sell me the idea that it will make money.
    The gall of people on both sides (pro and anti NBN) is amazing.
    Where I live between Gosford and Woy Woy on the NSW central coast I am unable to get DSL and have to rely on “mobile” broadband delivered over the oh-so-flaky mobile phone network. The idea that mobile data technologies will ever be reliable enough to provide ubiquitous Internet access is a joke. None of the major mobile carriers – including Telstra – provisions enough towers to provide sufficient coverage and bandwidth and my Internet access is wholly dependent on how many other people are trying to connect and somewhat dependent on what the weather is like.
    On the flip side people talk about medical miracles and the other wonders of the Internet….. wonders that largely rely on non-existent technologies and the use of complicated, expensive and difficult to operate systems. The entire concept of IT illiterate elderly Australians (who will make up a significantly portion of the population as the baby boomers age) using wondrous computer based technology to communicate with their doctor / surgeon / chemist is utterly stupid. This sort of build-it-and-they-will-come approach borders on criminal neglect and misuse of taxpayer funds. The recent arts grants being given out by the government to try and justify what can be done with a network like the NBN are a shining example of what happens when you put the cart before the horse – things have to be invented to justify the waste.
    If the government just came out and said yes it’s a public infrastructure project – one of the largest Australia has ever had because hey, they population is larger than ever before – I’d be much happier.

    • “I have no problems with public money being used on large scale public infrastructure but puh-lease don’t insult my intelligence by ever trying to sell me the idea that it will make money”
      Did the last big communication “White Elephant” make money? It did, in huge amounts.
      Back when the copper was first layed very similar arguments were made “Too expensive, who needs a phone in every house” etc, etc. Now it has served way beyond it’s creators wildest dreams. It very close to it’s limit, sure we could get a few more years with some of the copper tails with FTTN but that will only help for a while. Sure the government are trying to show new things that can be done now. In the future there will be things no one now has thought of. The way the volumes of data for all applications are increasing it will be needed. No short sighted “No one will ever need more than 640K” please. The applications will come. Holographic virtual presence, maybe even direct neural sensory linkage, that would require huge volumes of data.

      • Don’t get me wrong wrong.
        I support the NBN.
        I just dislike the way it’s been sold.
        I also think the cables should all have been moved underground (along with the power and everything else).

  38. A number of the photos are not even posted with the correct orientation and you want us to believe you know what you’re talking about?

    A number of photos are of non Telstra network but getting that sort of detail correct is not aligned with your attention seeking, misguide and inaccurate ‘report’.

    A number of the photos are of flood damaged infrastructure. I was unaware Telstra needed to part the waters…

    • Whether it was Telstra, a contractor or whoever, these aren’t a glowing reference of upkeep, imo.

    • “A number of photos are of non Telstra network but getting that sort of detail correct is not aligned with your attention seeking, misguide and inaccurate ‘report’.”

      To be fair, it’s about the copper network in general …. although I can’t see flood damaged electronics being on-topic.

  39. I know at least over the 100 open pits and joints hanging on the fences on the Frasercoast QLD. Some are open already for more than over a year. I know one place where the lightning went into the house and wrecked the cables until the RIM. Since that time the cable is hanging along the street in the fencing. Get it clear, this are not incidents.

  40. I see a number of customer MDFs included in the photos, all which are the responsibility of the building owners, not Telstra.

    It’s also sad that a RIM has to be included as well which looks like it has fallen victim of a flood. I suppose you hold all the other people who have had their premises flooded in a similar way you discredit Telstra, simply because of a natural event.

    It’s a pity you couldn’t stick more truthfully with your aim, ie discredit Telstra. The most interesting part of all this is how people blame “Telstra”. Telstra as an entity isn’t responsible for what is seen in most of these pictures. It is the result of peoples attitude towards their job and workmanship.

    • “I see a number of customer MDFs included in the photos, all which are the responsibility of the building owners, not Telstra.”

      Agree, so the licensed cabling rules do not result in an approved quality of building wiring.
      Not in electrician wiring either, but that is not the point here.

      “It’s also sad that a RIM has to be included as well which looks like it has fallen victim of a flood. I suppose you hold all the other people who have had their premises flooded in a similar way you discredit Telstra, simply because of a natural event.”

      Disagree, Telstra is sole responsible for the maintenance and restoration of carrier equipment which is owned by them regardless of the causes.

      “The most interesting part of all this is how people blame “Telstra”. Telstra as an entity isn’t responsible for what is seen in most of these pictures.”

      Partly agree, they are not responsible for the damage, but they are responsible for the maintenance and restoration. Some is building wiring, let’s agree on 50% okay?

      “It is the result of peoples attitude towards their job and workmanship.”

      Agree, people working for Telstra, other carriers, contractors working for carriers and licenses cablers. That covers the lot not?

      They call it quality of service. One of the reasons why our tourist industry goes down the drain. Had a reception girl at the counter answering me with “Can I have your money?” after I asked for a late checkout after 9 hours of driving … off topic but it proofs your point.

    • “It’s also sad that a RIM has to be included as well which looks like it has fallen victim of a flood….Telstra as an entity isn’t responsible for what is seen in most of these pictures. It is the result of peoples attitude towards their job and workmanship.”

      Ummm, the planet most of us live on, the owner of the hardware is the entity responsible for maintenance, especially when the owner has made it crystal clear that user tampering won’t merely invalidate the warranty, it may well cost $LOTS-AN’-LOTS. It ain’t the employee, it ain’t the contractor. It really IS the owner, as it is the owner who employs, and lets contracts.

      OFF-TOPIC: Just quietly, I too believe there’s not a lot WRONG with copper — it’s a bit out-dated, but who really cares? OTOH, the (poor/low/lack-of) maintenance shown in these pics is the reason most of us want a comms structure with Telstra NOT in charge, and we don’t like Telstra because of the service we DON’T receive. The fact that the new comms will be based on fiber-optic is not really relevant. BACK ON TOPIC.

      The vast majority of anti-Telstra posters here have suffered from “peoples attitude towards their job and workmanship”. My own experience of Telstra goes back at least to 1986, when Western Australia had (count them!) exactly ZERO techs available to fix ancient and tottering phone networks because they had all been sent to NSW (IIRRC) after a couple of disastrous bushfires there. Our phone was out for nearly a month, and they didn’t even contemplate our request that we not pay line rental for that month. Telstra’s woes did not begin, or end, with Sol Truhillo. And until Telstra has every last vestige of hardware stripped from it, then we — Australia — will be left to suffer. IMHO, the $1milliard they will get is probably a just punishment for us not horsewhipping the pollies sooner.


      • Could it be that the water damaged RIM has long been upgraded with a spanking new ADSL2+ enabled ISAM?

        just take picture and draw a wild conclusion.

  41. LOL, just thought about something while looking again at those photo’s. We have a standard rule, do not reconfigure a Cisco router without a network plan so you know what goes where. Wonder who got the network plan from this mess and how does any engineer dare to work on this? While fixing something there is a huge risk of damaging something that works. Regardless if this is Telstra, contractor or licensed cable work, it is doggy first class.

    • The $11 billion is for taking Telstra’s paying customers and getting access for the DUCTS to avoid digging new holes. Totally worth it – YES.

      Nobody’s paying for the old copper wires.

  42. I found because I was not a Telstra customer, I could not report when a giant ankle busting hole appeared in the pit out the front of my house. I could not use the TIO either because it was not on my property. Eventually I contacted my federal Member of Parliament – who after trying to fob it off every where else (TIO, State and Council) sent an email to their Telstra contact – and it got sorted within a few days, cos we got lucky and they found a new lid (imperial measurements hard to find and they don’t make them any more).

    And then a tree took down the phone line that crossed the road out the front of my place, taking out my neighbour’s phone and internet and leaving a wire across the road. Took them three days to fix that. And the guy that came – was on his own. Went up the ladder on his own, used a harness to go up the pole and fix it – on his own. I thought OH&S required two people when there was ladder work ie if he fell off and hit his head, who was going to call the ambulance?

  43. Hey everyone, FYI I have received an extensive comment on this issue from the Office of Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, which I will be publishing tomorrow morning (Wednesday).



  44. Nobody has been trained in more than 15 years on how to maitain the copper network it was a five year apprenticeship now we have sparkies do it who have no idea as its not the same as power wiring and no short course is going to teach them so its no surprise that its got like this. Note most of the trained people left the industry never wanting to go back.

    • Agreed, Paul.

      This pictures remind me exactly why I got out of the telco industry and took up law!

      Given the ridiculous and stupid way in which little johnny howard deregulated the telecommunications industry, we can thank him and the other cheap-labour-conservatives for the complete mess which the copper CAN finds itself in today.

      The NBN is the way forward – to move the IEN and CAN into the 21st century and beyond, and opening it up equally to all players in the industry.

      As the NBN requires an intelligent network as part of its basic design, tagging pairs, moving jumpers and upgrading lead-ins for extra capacity will go the way of the dinosaur. Which means that the NBN needs only to be done once, and done properly, to be done forever.

      The hybrid mess that is Fraudband, on the other hand, will still require new copper lead-ins to be provided whenever extra capacity is needed in the target premises. Jumpers will still be required on lead-ins in multi-tenant premises. And there still will be Scotch-locks in the pits to dry out and go intermittent-open-circuit or high-resistance. Also remember that most of the people who’ve been properly trained in copper telecommunications infrastructure and experienced in its maintenance quit dealing with it long ago, and many wouldn’t come back to going on the tools again to get it up to standard, no matter how much they were paid.

      With the NBN plan, such problems as those, and faults with crossed lines, crosstalk, induction, impulse noise and dropouts are gone forever from the CAN. Even one working fibre offers more capacity than 1,000 pairs, so there’s no need to pull up pit covers and open pillars once the infrastructure is in place. The NBN cable network will not require constant maintenance for adds, moves, changes, and expansions, as the Fraudband hybrid network does.

      Only a government can manage the equitable, non-discriminatory roll-out of a new CAN – and the failure of little johnny howard and the cheap-labour-conservatives to properly consider the issue of equitable access to the CAN for all telcos prior to deregulation is yet another monumental LNP failure.

      So as far as I’m concerned, the only way forward for the next 50 years is the NBN.

  45. So many of these comments are so wrong. I don’t work for Telstra, i’m an independent communications engineer and I can tell you that this story is a complete load of rubbish. Most of those photos are of equipment that has been damaged in floods and been patched up before it is properly repaired. Proper repairs can take days and the techs have done their best to get something working rather than make everyone wait.

    Paul, your comment it training is very very wrong. You have no idea. Techs are still being trained. You’re talking about cablers, Techs are not cablers, cablers are not techs.

    NBN will be exactly the same. its using the same pits and pipes and will still get dirt and rubbish in it.

    You lot really have no idea how a network works!

    • I’m a procurement manager for a company that is completely unrelated to anything communications and I can tell you that your comment is rubbish.
      These complaints have been on-going before the NBN was conceived and has not changed since.

      Amazing that it took the NBN for people to start defending the infrastructure, every man and his dog was bashing it before.

      • +1 Kevin.

        When John Howard was in power we were all united in our calls for Telstra to improve their infrastructure and for updated infrastructure/fibre. With no real fingers pointed at JH (except for the privatisation of Telstra and/or not separating them first).

        Now that we have a different party giving us what we wanted and bypassing Telstra’s apathy, the political bashings outweighs the previous infrastructure bashing.

        So much so, that some of those who were whinging previously would obviously rather go back to the future than accept any upgrades from the other party… *rolls eyes*

    • “Most of those photos are of equipment that has been damaged in floods and been patched up before it is properly repaired. Proper repairs can take days and the techs have done their best to get something working rather than make everyone wait”
      BS, I have seen stuff in this condition all over the place, no where near flooded areas. Proper repairs? Are you serious, they never fix something they can keep patching. The pit and duct under the road (the end of a court) at my GF place constantly fills with water. For the last two years Telstra have pumped it every few months, until they forget and she has to go through all the hassle with TIO to get them to continue doing it. Fix it? According to most of the contractors who have come to pump it out Telstra aren’t interested, it only serves 6 houses and would cost a lot to fix. Her ex husband, ex Telstra, left them when they started sacking people and putting on contractors works for another company now. Putting fibre through the Telstra ducts. He is charge of the NBN rollout in areas of Ballarat (no he doesn’t worked for NBN, but acompany contracted by them) He commented about how bad the whole thing had got since they downsized to Sol could collect a bonus, that the guys obviously just didn’t give a crap any more and a lot of the network was being left in terrible condition after makeshift repairs and never followed up on.
      “You lot really have no idea how a network works!” Bit of a generalisation there don’t you think? Or you have a god complex?

  46. Anyone who is against the NBN should have their lungs removed as they don’t deserve any oxygen

  47. A significant portion of those photos is customer owned, very poor work trying to pass this off as telstra fault.

    I also noted a fair few photos of gear that would not be in use as well.

  48. I’m sorry renai, if you want more credibility you need to remove the obviously customer side MDF photos, as it give people ammunition to say your showing photos that aren’t technically telstra’s network. Also the old photos of obviously well decommissioned telstra exchange equipment, that needs to go as well. Also the photos of the telstra exchange ducts needs to go, they actually look in decent condition and whilst part of telstras network, it doesn’t serve the purpose of this article saying telstra have a shabby network.

  49. You can cry about these pictures all you like! They are still 100% safer/tidier/cleaner/better than what’s found in many Asian counties!

    • What’s that got to do with anything? I don’t think aspiring to 3rd world conditions is something that would make most of us very happy.

      • @gaycarboys It has lots to do with the topic and thread in general. One could say that we have very high standards, another could say that it doesn’t have to be picture perfect in order to work.

        What Part of Telstra did you work for?

        • I started in MI1 installing exchanges. Other parts of the world (including Asia) have trouble with keeping the copper in the ground. Locals dig the cables up and sell them. Once the NBN is complete there will be no need for exchanges, DA pillars, MDF’s/IDF’s as such. Inter exchange is via fibre already. These pics show a range of poorly maintained, obsolete and privately owned infrastructure. Half of this evidence is not Telstra owned is maintained. The test desk for example hasn’t been in use since the early 80’s. All of the IDF’s are privately owned, but none of it takes away from the fact that copper reached the end of its useful life some time ago and has been patched together ever since. And, since only Telstra has copper (Optus was fibre from day 1 of their own network) it is obsolete. If it is not picture perfect, copper will, and does, fail. Joints are notoriously unreliable and ludicrously complex. Tens of billions of $ can be sold by telstra once the NBN is fully implemented. The sale of its realestate alone could probably pay for the NBN alone. Exchanges, copper cables, DA pillars, MDFs/IDFs, RIMs and repeaters would become obsolete and could be recovered and sold. There isn’t a bad point to the NBN but there certainly is for the copper network which is rapidly becoming 3rd world.

  50. i worked for Telstra for many years and this is just the tip of the iceberg. And the luddites still say that the 80 year old copper network is good for another 50 years. No NBN? I don’t think so. At the very least the entire copper network needs replacing, why replace it with copper? It doesn’t make any sense.

  51. Shifting power underground is expensive as well. Not saying it shouldn’t be done as I think it should. Just thats its expensive is all.

  52. Ben the training that is done now does not come close to what was done in the past its all about costs saving money, the fundamental understanding of what goes on is not there. I watched a submission to the ACMA about faults not being tested properly but without testing what was described was easy for me to pick as I was trained to recognize it by just what was complained about by the customer. Yes I too see most of the pictures as damage not old age but the condition of a lot of the copper is not good and how much longer can it last some of it is more than 60years old. Note the exchange cable tunnel showed the diffrence between what was done in the past and what is acceptable now ,nice neat old lead cables and the new fiber just laying there.

  53. Not your finest piece Renai. This is what I’d expect from mainstream media.
    It appears to be an inflammatory piece designed to elicit a response from Turnbull. Can you please also pass this on to Conroy and also to the appropriate office holder at Telstra to get their responses and post those as well?

  54. I hope the copper is recovered and recycled instead of it remaining in the ground.

  55. See what happens when you allow contractors into your network, the $ is their only concern therefore, not doing their job properly.

    Thats exactly right, the same thing will happen with the NBN, have you seen a NBN truck, no they are all contractors or subcontractors, they won’t have their own staff, they will outsorce it to the cheapest. so the same fate will occur, just not at the start, let telstra build/replace the existing network, and let the others rent access from them at cost price plus 10%

    • So you are advocating increases in consumer prices?

      Because NBNCo having 7% ROI, can manage cheap access for RSPs and therefore cheaper prices for consumers.

      Anyway, let Telstra build it… build what? And why would Telstra want to build anything? When they can…

      A) Leech off the NBN – I use this term because that’s what they accused others of doing to them, but look now.

      B) Will have MT throwing OUR cash at them in the form of subsidies.

  56. I’ve already posted these comments in the “A challenge for Telstra: Show us your best” Article here:


    But I thought it was worthwhile to also add them to this Article as well.

    As someone who worked in Telstra Engineering (and Telecom Australia) for many many years, I can tell you that the External Plant isn’t in very good condition and isn’t and hasn’t been maintained very well. Others who know what I know would agree with these statements. I’m not going to go into the reasons for this because they are many and varied, but your photos do paint a picture of the condition of a lot of the network. Yes in new areas the infrastructure “looks” good for a while but it soon falls into disrepair quickly. Anyone could provide “evidence” such as photos to support an argument either way. Big deal! Cooper, electricity and moisture together form the bases for this decay of the network. Moisture gets into the copper cables (both Plastic covered, plastic insulated Distribution Cables as well as Lead/Moisture Barrier covered paper insulated Mains Cable etc.) at joints and in-line for many reasons including sloppy workmanship, poor equipment design, flawed procedures and practices, pests (ants/termites etc.) environmental condition and mechanical damage. They all end in the same result….Faults!

    Those who have an agenda will cry foul of what I’m saying. I have no agenda just years of experience in Telstra & Telecom Australia. I don’t care if you believe what I’m saying or not because the facts are the facts regardless of the agenda or political slant that some of you have.

    Before shooting your mouth off about something you know nothing about, get your fact straight. Do a bit of research first. Cooper, Electricity and Moisture are a bad combination. It is very difficult to keep moisture out of the joints and cables in any cooper telephone network regardless of the techniques, and procedures used. Think about the fact that the air itself contains moisture and as the temperature drops at night etc. the water vapor condense into liquid water. What do you think happens inside a joint or cable where this moisture forms?

    I’m not going to connect all the dots for you. But anyone with any experience in the Telecommunications industry know all this stuff and know why a fibre network is superior to a cooper network with regard to fault tolerance let alone the fact that fibre provides almost endless capacity. Yes fibre is still affected by such things as mechanical damage both man made and animal/insect. But it certainly doesn’t suffer from the biggest cause of faults in the cooper telephone network which is moisture ingress.

    • You make much sense. It’s also interesting to note the reliability of the existing Fibre network. It’s true that many of the photos are indeed not Telstra infrastructure, there is no doubt of the resulting decay of up to 80 years worth of use and abuse. Anyone who denies this clearly either has vested interests or has no clue or both.

      • I’m glad someone thinks so!

        I just viewed Mr Ashford’s comments here in his submission:


        I understand exactly what he is talking about. These high resistance faults (as we called them) but as he calls “high open” faults are temporarily masked by the standard robotic tests as they temporarily “breakdown” the high resistance by the voltage/current applied to them during the testing. This also can happen when you lift the handset on the telephone and the circuit is completed and 50volts applied to the entire circuit. However this isn’t always the case depending on the amount of oxidation between the conductors at a joint, or on a cross connect point such as a cabinet or pillar, or in a socket within a house etc. In pure telephoney terms these faults were and are characterised by noise heard during a telephone conversations. Like the sound of cracking bacon cooking or a scratching noise or just a crackly noise on the line. On Naked ADSL this wouldn’t be heard. The only way to test for this fault is a “loop test”. Anyway some more information is available here:


        The testing procedure that Telstra is currently using needs to change (as it once was) so loop testing is done first to detect the high resistance faults or high open faults as Ashford calls them.

  57. A few days ago, a Telstra technician cut off our phone line while “fixing” the neighbours just like in some of the above pictures. I was not impressed and they wanted to take up to a week to come and fix their mistake. We need the NBN more than ever!

  58. Dude in Telco and Canon1d are the Telstra fanbois from whirlpool. Clueless both of them.

  59. One guy there had only 500kbps down and 60kbps up. Thats with a weird connection, hell I’ve got a perfect line from telstra ADSL2+ and I’m lucky to get above 20kbps up, and 400kbps down! Can not wait for the NBN…

  60. Our stupid pit out the front flooded and we had a technician come up from Grafton (we live in NQ).. It was all corroded and mucky. We can’t even get ADSL where I live cause Telstra cares to much about profit. Upgrade the Kelsey Creek exchange please!!!: http://www.adsl2exchanges.com.au/viewexchange.php?Exchange=KELS we aren’t even getting the Fibre NBN and yet we are only 15mins from a place that will eventually *emphasises eventually* get it (Proserpine). I hate Telstra so much for ignoring us. Your infrastructure in the Kelsey Creek area and many other places in the Whitsunday region is paltry and inadequate.

  61. It is fascinating that the NBN phone at a house MUST BE POWERED to work. It has a backup battery which will gradually die after a few years. In the remote country areas when the 240v power does down, eg tree falls on the power line, the NBN phone may not work if the backup battery has had it.

    So, in the event of an accident or critical sickness requiring an ambulance on a remote property, the NBN phone could be dead and with no mobile coverage, eg flat battery in mobile, the injured person will just lie in agony and die clutching the useless NBN handset cause they can’t call the ambulance.

    The Telstra phone on copper is supplied by 50v over the 2 copper wires and works whether the 240v is available or not.

    Wonder when the first court case will be when someone dies because the NBN phone had no power ?

    • Seriously – I don’t know a farmer that doesn’t use a mobile in most cases. A lot of these properties also use generators. I don’t doubt you have a valid argument – however I think there are alternatives to the problem.

      • Dear Daniel,
        Classic Labor Pollie style response which issues an initial massive ridiculing denial and then tries to justify this by picking on one tiny piece and then furiously tries to distract attention away on this tiny piece.

        We are talking about the case where the 240v goes off and there is no 240v backup and there is no mobile coverage for whatever reason.

        Mobile coverage is no good if the mobile phone has a flat battery or is damaged at time of accident. In some cases the terrain will cause the mobile coverage to drop out. In an increasing number of cases after July 1st when the “CO2” socialist TAX starts to increase the cost of living by 15% and rising until the election there will be many people who won’t be able to afford to pay for a mobile phone.

        If a person is foolish enough to rely on an emergency calling device then when they press the emergency calling device they will just lie there and die because the emergency device will be trying to use the useless dead NBN phone.

        Lots of smaller farms DO NOT HAVE A BACKUP GENERATOR as they cannot afford the cost.

        There should be some interesting court cases as time goes on and the NBN batteries go dead.

  62. Looks like we just have pretty covers hiding the horrible wiring, similar to that of Patong Beach, Thailand.

  63. I have read most of this.Nothing is new in a time span of 20 years.I spent the majority of life as a Telstra employee.What I have seen would take a 1000 page book to explain.
    The copper network is not fit for purpose.
    In the mid 90’s all the line depots were closed with their staff and machinery.Civic work went to contractors.
    Contracting became to expensive so the problem was ignored.
    Telstra sold off non core business.
    Telstra management decided that Telstra is the problem and brought in management consultants.

    Management consultants said Telstra is overstaffed,so they sacked almost everyone.
    Telstra now has 10% new and 10% politically correct,the middle has gone.
    Telstra is not a telecoms company any more,they a Mobile and Net company,the network being a faded memory. and the Govt.paying 11 billion for it,money for old rope.
    So don’t blame the worker for the embarrassing mess that the copper network became,I for one tried for years to do it right,And I was a Tech forced to be a Liney.Before I got the bullet I worked for over three years without any annual leave,worked all the weekend overtime and was constantly recalled after midnight to travel a 100k away to try and fix something that should have been fixed in daylight.
    I sacked myself.I said I cant work for these fuckwits any more.31 years of my life!

  64. I have to laugh at the anti NBNers. I assume most of them are rural conservatives – as usual these idiots will die in a ditch to work against their own interests. The murdoch newspapers are running a massive campaign against NBN to preserve their masters pay TV interests. The first people hit by the collapsing pathetic copper network will be rural customers, then no doubt they’ll bitch and moan about how its ‘labors fault’ and demand a fix. In fact this is happening now in Warrnambool, where the copper network has been burnt out.

    These are the same people that send their kids overwhelmingly to state schools while voting for parties that push private schools, and bitch about protecting the murray, but will be the first with their hands out when it finally snuffs it.

    Maybe we could have a system where the coalition morons are kept on the crappy copper network – I’m sure that will keep them, and Rupert, happy.

    • While blaming ‘rural conservatives’, you seem to forget the reason the coalition lost the last election in the first place. One of the factors that pushed the ‘rural conservative’ independents was the NBN itself.
      At least in Gippsland (a safe National seat at the federal level) Telstra are not popular and Howard and the Liberal party are blamed for the further degradation of services since the final privatisation.

      There is however, scepticism about the NBN roll-out as most of the area (other than some new estates) does not appear on the rollout plan for either fibre or fixed Wireless. However there is not much support for the Liberal plan either as it appears as more of the same patchwork, ineffective solutions both parties have proposed in the past.

      The main opponents of the NBN seem to be the urban conservatives – Mostly those who are rich enough to afford high bandwidth regardless, have decent internet anyway, and/or small-buisness types who look at the large sums of money involved in what seems (to them at least) to be excessive infrastructure.

      By far the biggest opponents of the NBN are traditional media outlets who have been running a relentless campaign against it.

  65. Perhaps we could look at a system where individual murdoch journalists are held liable for crappy copper networks. Everytime the data stream is slow, we just recover the funds from one of the murdoch monkeys who stopped fibre to our homes and businesses from happening. In fact we could also extend this scheme to coalition supporters – they can pay up as well!

    I love how coalition supporters are always valuable little ‘useful idiots’ for the murdoch press.

  66. What I do find unbeleviable is that the last picture and description. Delimiter has had a HANDYMAN in to install a cable that should be undertaken by a Licensed person ?

  67. the goverment should of held on the telco company all telstra care about is profits not customers and some of the network is 50yrs plus what do u expect a great network

  68. copper lines were built for only pots lines not super fast adsl that why this country needs NBN to move forward like other countries , and whos going to pay for this all of us not the politicians

  69. Ahh so,that’s what these pics are about. I actually thought it was a series of visuals detailing how up to date Abbott’s alternative to the NBN really is. By the way, glass doesn’t corrode like copper does. That’s why the copper network is falling apart. Why would anybody turn around and use it again to build an new network? The network would only be as strong as its weakest link (corroding copper).
    Just shows how little they understand. Abbott has spent so much of his time bagging the gov’t, he can’t possibly agree with the NBN, so he has to come up with something as an alternative, and this is the best he can manage?

  70. There’s some interesting parallels between these images, the Coalition’s Broadband concept and the film ‘The City Of Embers’ starring Tim Robbins. Worth a look

  71. Delimiter, you allow a “handyman” to connect cat5 to your MDF???
    No wonder you’re having problems.
    Only licensed cablers should be working in your MDF.

  72. our copper cables are hopeless. the joins are mostly in a hole underground – so whenever it rains, as it does in sub tropical Queensland, the holes flood and the phones drop out. Telstra techs come around and put more insulation tape on top of the insulation tape. They all live in hope of the NBN coming soon because the copper is about 10 years past its use by date.

  73. should be noted that the 4th photo down of the MDF is NOT Telstra’s responsibility. MDF are defined as the first connection point and are owned by the building owner. any maintenance needs to be carried out by them

  74. As an ex Telecom Instructor, Lines, I can tell you most of the photographs show unacceptable work and installation. For those defending some photos to state that the plant is redundant and not in use the question is why is not recovered? Why leave visua pollution? Telstra network is a mess, mainly because of the contracting/ subcontracting arrangements, the use of the network by Telstra’s competitors etc. (It is still Telstra’s responsibility to maintain the network even if used by their competitors.) And like me….OLD AGE.

  75. ok alot of these are cases of bad work that has been carried out and the only person you can blame for that is Telstra they push there employees and work on a cc based program which dose not promote good working methods

    and some of these pictures have nothing wrong with them .. eg under the exchange and in exchange pictures the other ones where there is a broken cabinet .. how can telstra be held accountable for people hitting the structures with vehicles.

Comments are closed.