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?