When good copper cable goes bad


blog Since we published our “worst of the worst” photo gallery of Telstra’s copper telecommunications network several weeks ago, we’ve been receiving a constant drip stream of complaints and extra examples of poor quality areas of the network. This one posted on Whirlpool and forwarded to us by several readers over the weekend is a good example of the issue. Forum regular MaXim has posted a detailed account of his struggles to get decent broadband to his house:

“My landline is extremely bad quality which affects call quality and ADSL sync speed. My retailer is Internode and they’ve been constantly lodging faults with Telstra for a while now – a technician has been called out for the 4th time. I have been advised that the cable running in the street in front of my house to the end of the street is in urgent need to replacement. Apparently, Telstra techs have been sent out almost 70 times in the past 6 years and all they’ve been doing is swapping customers over to new pairs in the same cable.

The cause of the problem is, that the cable has been deteriorating for years and there are no good pairs left in the cable. Recently I had a tech swap me onto what was supposedly the last good pair in the cable, and my sync rate increased to over 10Mbps. As of last night, with a good quantity of rain, I’m syncing at no more than 3Mbps. Call quality is pretty nasty, with constant background noise, scratchiness and ground loop hum. The situation is equally bad with most of my neighbours.

The cable needs to be replaced. It’s obviously not a small job, as the cable is direct buried along with some fossilised early 20th century lead piping. I’ve been told they will need to dig up the footpath, bore all the way along the street and install new conduit, along with new pits.”

Now, as I’ve noted before, I want to make the point that this isn’t the experience which most Australians are having on Telstra’s copper network, and isolated cases don’t singlehandedly make the argument that the network needs to be replaced as a whole with fibre, as the National Broadband Network policy would see happen. However, it is important to note that cases like this do add weight to the argument that Telstra’s copper network has gotten past its ‘use by’ date and should be replaced. When you receive sob stories almost every week from readers on these sorts of issues as I do, it’s hard to escape the impression that there are a lot of similar problems out there.

Image credit: MaXim


  1. The problem also here, is that Telstra have no real incentive to fix this. I may take a couple of days work – (and therefore a few thousand dollars) – and they may see this as too expensive to fix.

  2. (Without knowing the full details) probably should be replaced. However, this is the best service you’ll get for measly $16 ULL.

    You can’t keep complaining to the ACCC for cheaper and cheaper wholesale rates when labour costs are shooting through the roof and expect Telstra to go around commissioning hugely expensive civil works.

    Cheap broadband or quality broadband — select one only.

    • “Cheap broadband or quality broadband — select one only.”

      I chose cheap. The NBN fits that description perfectly. No need to apply the “quality” word to it at all since it is 93% fibre it is simply implied as a natural progression of technology.

      • what a laugh Fibre implies Quality !!!- its clear you’ve never had to deal with a large scale network-

        • I would have assumed it common sense that brand new fibre (as in NBN FTTP) would be far superior in all facets than decades old, largely neglected copper?

          But then, I have never been involved in a large scale network!

    • The problem is $16 ULL and private companies and investors expecting investment returns in 2-3 years on capital works. Reason why infrastructure should be in government hands because you can price with much longer term and lower returns in mind.

  3. Sounds like my situation. Heavy rain means low speed, clicks and pops.

    Telstra can’t be bothered replacing the cable direct buried under the footpath.

    Must talk to some backhoe operators in the neighbourhood to see what can be done to accelerate replacement …

    • Must talk to some backhoe operators in the neighbourhood to see what can be done to accelerate replacement

      here’s how they fix cables cut by backhoe.

      that’s the copper that i’m on by the way.

    • > Must talk to some backhoe operators in the neighbourhood to see what can be done to accelerate replacement …

      I have a similar situation with direct buried copper. The copper is dodgy about 60 metres up the road. Last time I reported a fault it took two Telstra engineers 6 hours to find a clean copper pair and there are about 20 free!

      Unfortunately when house was being built 4 doors up, the contractors ran through the copper twice (3 months apart). Both times it was repaired and my ADSL sync speed dropped.

      What I’m curious about is what NBNCo will do when they install fibre. Older houses on the street have copper that runs up poles and aerial cable, while other homes have underground conduit running to the pits. Several houses (including mine) have power conduit on one side and telephone on the other side.

      Rumours about Townsville on Whirlpool suggest that new conduit was installed, but NBNCo have also said they will run cabling aerially where it is currently done that way.

  4. Same thing happened to me at my old place.

    You can stand on the balcony and see the exchange from my house which was only 300m away. The line to my house went directly from the exchange so there was no looping around through side streets so you’d expect the speeds would be fast. But the fastest download we ever got was 5 meg.

    One winter after a series of floodings, my speed dropped down to sub-ISDN speeds. A month later, after calling my ISP and lodging multiple faults, the 4th tech finally decided to swap my line out for a neighbour’s line. After measuring the speeds, he promptly declared that 3 megs is “good enough” and that I’m getting the service that I’m paying for.

    $100 a month for a service that still drops out regularly and required a 6 monthly visit from Telstra techs (I know the people who leased my house after I moved).

    300 meters of dodgy cable. Give me a shovel and a roll of copper and I would have glady replaced it myself.

  5. Sounds like the exact same problem that happened to me on two occasions the difference being my speed was just under half what I usually got and it would take a long time to connect. I had no phone at all, just static. The first time it took over a week for Telstra to finally fix and after the second time my speed is down to ~12mbps when I originally got ~15mbps. I was also told by my ISP that there will be a disruption in the future when they “fix it properly” I haven’t had any issues since however.

  6. Telstra has been putting off this type of work for YEARS cause they know the NBN is coming. Why spend many many many 10’s of thousands of dollars, or more likely 100’s to repair this issue when its going to all be useless within 5-10 yrs? Telstra will never recover the cost of replacing the cooper cable by the time the NBN rolls through.

    Dig around Renai and you will find many users in fringe areas of cities that can’t get ADSL2 cause either there are no free ports left or no working ports left. Telstra isn’t investing money into these areas cause its just not worth it for them as the time to recover the outlay is not not great enough.

    Telstra just brought a truckload of duct tap and thats all the engineers have to keep the cooper can alive these days until the NBN rolls through. If the NBN gets blocked then Telstra is really stuffed, as they have a huge outlay of repairs and expansion to do!

    The cooper can is near end of life, Telstra knows it and is laughing all the way to the bank when the gov wanted to buy it for truck loads of money! Hell even the Telstra CEO said the cooper can will be worthless a few years back by now!

    • if they were using duct tape to fix the copper we’d probably get another 50 years out of it.

      that shit fixes everything.

    • Really?


      Did they know 10+ years ago, when I live in Point Cook and they would not upgrade the exchange even though the little suburb was growing at an exponential rate?

      Did they know 12+ years ago when I lived in Aspendale and the lines in all houses were affected by rain (whenever it rained) regardless of ADSL?

      They must have known the NBN was coming aaaaages ago hey?

      Good on them for sticking to their guns and giving a relatively crap service whilst they patiently waited for us to all know what they knew a very long time ago…. that the NBN would cure all ills.

      • Matt the short answer is…. Yes!

        This isn’t the first time a national broadband network has been put out there! Its the first time in Australia that is was approved. The first public report released for a national broadband network was in Jan 2003, which was 9 1/2 years ago, this was with ‘major stakeholders’, gee I wonder who they would have been? *COUGH* Telstra maybe?

        Jan 2003 was when it was released, so it would have taken 1-2 years to prepare/review this document, so this puts the timeframe of about 12-13 years ago it was first on the cards. Telstra seen the writing on the wall back then. Telstra themselves stated a few years ago that the cooper can was going to be worthless, our Gov has given them a golden handshake to gain access to ducts and exchanges to put in fibre.

        Have a read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Broadband_Network#Previous_attempts_at_national_broadband_networks

        Remember Telstra is a private company now for many years, all about profits. If the return on investment isn’t there, why should they do it? Is it wise to spend xyz money on upgrading a exchange for a handful of users that may take 15 years to recover the costs back, when in say within 10 years the exchange will no longer be required as the NBN has replaced it? Hence not even covering the costs?

        Telstra has been running on this model for decades now! Its not cheap to rip up a few km of streets and replace all the copper for a handful of users who are only paying $16/month to telstra. It takes decades to get that investment back. Remember the cooper runs from your house BACK to the exchange, so telstra needs to replace this entire run, not just the bit in your street!

        Lets face it… What are your choices anyhow if Telstra DOESN’T fix it? Thats right, bitch and moan and put up with it! Its not like you can choose any other options for ADSL! All you can hope for is that cable runs in your street if you have a bad cooper line!

  7. Two years ago I leave Telstra and go to TPG for naked broadband + VOIP. I get a year of good 6Mbps speed then Telstra bridge taps my line. Connection speed drops in half. Then a few weeks later drops to a third of what it was. At that point I’m getting 1.5 Mbps, but only after I force-connect down from 2Mbps because the noise margin fluctuates so badly from second to second. I’ve spent a year nursing my connection along, manually switching from G.DMT to ADSL2+ depending on the prevailing line noise and interference, manually resetting the modem a couple times a day when the line becomes useless. Three weeks ago my speed dropped massively again: from 1.5 to 0.2 Mbps. That’s right: a couple times better than dial-up. Welcome back to the 90s. Telstra didn’t care about the first huge speed drop. Who knows if they’ll care about this one. Their only obligation by law is to run a copper line to my house so I can make voice calls. Anything beyond that is my problem, apparently. Thank you, governments of Australia.

    • I’ve been with TPG since 2008 and the speed was around 5Mbps and slowly went down to about 0.5Mbps with the Belkin modem. Replaced with a Billion and it instantly went up to 6Mbps. Replaced the phone socket and it hit 7Mbps. Just saying it could be something other than the line… (Though 7Mbps is still nothing compared to fibre for a similar price)

    • from what I’ve been told: if you’re over 1.5Mbps, but just slower than you’d like, that’s bad luck. but under 1.5Mbps is “faulty” as 1.5Mbps (or rather, the noise margin for 1.5Mbps) is the baseline for all ADSL connections and therefore more or less guaranteed.

  8. The fact is the quality of copper in the ground is going to cause significant problems for any FTTN proposal. I am not saying that it cannot be done, however when referring to a proposal that has limited scalability and already obsolescent speeds I believe every negative that shows what a bad investment copper based technologies are should be considered.

    I obviously believe that a well designed FTTH network is the best leg up we can give this country for decades with infrastructure investment.

    Furthermore what benefit does a divided Australia bring. If the Coalition is to believe they will stop a FTTH rollout at anywhere between 10-20% complete (including greenfield private operators) with most subjected to inferior FTTN and some able to get halfway with HFC. The benefit of ubiquity cannot be overstated. If only 100% FTTH was possible.

    • News flash….. FTTN is here today! Every Telstra exchange aka NODE has had Fibre to it for decades! Its only the ‘last mile’ that is cooper!

      • Do you have to write the same crap on every post?

        Duh there’s fibre to exchanges. They’re environmentally protected buildings.

        The ‘last mile’ as it were is in my experience on average ‘the last 2 miles’ (3.2k) and I have seen it higher than ‘the last 5 miles’.

        If you call that FTTN you’re misusing an industry term that is specifically describing a streetside cabinet.

  9. So the photo shows a pit with cables in it, nothing looks that dodgy about it. Yes there is a lead sheathed cable there.

    If you really want it fixed, open every pit in the street and hit it with a decent sharp axe (discretely in the dark of night of course).

    • Fix the brightness on your monitor so you can see detail in shadow and zoom in on the picture. Look below those cables in the top.

  10. Hi all, OP here. My internet is back to a serviceable level and I’m syncing at a little under 10Mbps (yay!). Not too sure how long this will last, however, as my call quality is still rather abysmal.

    What I didn’t mention in the Whirlpool thread is how the pit at the end of my street is filled with enough water to go for a swim. It’s also so deep that if you were to fall in there, there would be no quick way of getting out, as there is no ladder leading to the top. Peered inside to see an unholy rat’s nest of telephone cables. This isn’t an OH&S risk at all :)

    To all who think that the picture of the pit is ‘OK’, note the following features:
    – The cover for junction between my home’s twisted pair and the street went missing, so they replaced it with a plastic sheath which provides little to no protection from the elements. Note the “vertical installation is critical” label on the white sheath. Then note the actual orientation of the junction.
    – The large white looking conduit is a lead pipe dating back to the early 20th century.
    – The pit is made of healthy asbestos cement.
    – The cables are direct buried in the ground under the footpath, unprotected from moisture and tree roots.

    I’ll try and take a pic of the pit at the end of my street the next time a tech is out to fix my line (this Wednesday).

  11. These stories are all to common. I’ve been an iinet customer for 8 years. My phone line has been great for the first 6-7 years. I started getting massive speed drops and frequent disconnections, I alerted iinet and they sent out a Vision stream technician. They nailed the fault down to the line, which is Telstras business. So they logged a fault with Telstra. The first 3 technicians that came out… Yes, Three! Said there was some crackling/noise on the line but was within the margin of error. The net was terrible and their idea of margin of error is not being able to hear anyone over the phone. Frustrated and kept alerting iinet and they kept logging faults. Finally the forth time, I got a great technician. He ran tests from the exchange and swapped the line over. I had an honest conversation with him when the job was done. I asked him various question and in his opinion, if I was with Telstra the job would have been higher priority and most likely fixed the first time as it is in their best interests. They have no incentive to undergo expensive fixes on phone lines, despite owning them because the NBN is coming and the fixes usually benefit other ISPs and not themselves.

  12. I beg to differ that poor cabling isn’t what a lot of people are facing.

    I work for a network provider and it seems at least once a week I’m told by a Telstra tech that there’s just no good pairs left in the cable.

    We’ve got a customer in QLD where Telstra have finally raised a CNI early May on the main cable in the street. As yet there’s still no time frame as to when the cable will be repaired. We’ve had to privde a 3G alternative connection while Telstra dithers.

    How much will it cost to repair the network? Telstra definitely hasn’t been spending any money on the copper network unless it really REALLY..stamps foot DO I HAVE to.

    Half the staff at work have issues with their internet connections. Nearly all envy my sync speed of 12Mbs as they’re generally getting < 6Mbs with major instability problems.

    Throw in Telstra using a new company for their level 1 techs out in the field, and well repair times have blown out and it nearly seems like they're wear blind folds when testing services. Why do companies that use ULLs have to send a tech out with a few thousand dollars worth of test gear so they can tell Telstra what is wrong with the copper apir, but Telstra will send a "tech" out with a $30 digital multimeter and bill us for mutliple no faults found till we finally get our tech to meet their tech and show them how to do their job!!!

  13. I’d kill for 3Mbps ADSL , we only have dial up or very expensive 3g wireless broadband with measly quotas , and now with the NBN on its way across Australia the best we can hope for is crappy satellite .
    At least before the NBN we had a chance of eventually getting an ADSL upgrade , we are only an hours drive out of Hobart might as well be in the middle of the Nullarbor plains.

    • You say that as if you’re better than somebody living on the Nullarbor and deserve better service than them. You also seem to be under the illusion that satellite will be worse than adsl.

      • I’m not sure how you could have taken that from what I stated, regards satellite vs ADSl anyone with an ounce of knowlagde regards these things will tell you that I’m under no illusion you simply can not compare the two and that’s not even taking into account very low quotas and ping times that make dial up look good.

        • Satellite is 12Mbps down and 1Mbps up which is better than probably a good majority of people get on ADSL.

          Yeah, the latency won’t be fun.

          • Give me 3Mbps ADSL with 200 Gbyte quota any day over 12Mbps laggy low quota satellite.

  14. I have the same problem, no good pairs left, fortunately my phone line isn’t too bad, but I use Voip in preference when it is useable. In fact the poor line quality is the reason I originally moved to DSL from dial up as soon as available. The constant drop outs and auto redials were costing me up to $50month, average $40 in phone call charges. At least on ADSL even though constant slow downs and drop outs at least they don’t mean phone call charges .
    That is why I question the viability of the cheaper FTTN option. I don’t believe Telstra’s figures of percentage of bad pairs/cables. Plans based on false figures and assumptions can be disastrous, and under the coalitions option, the Taxpayer will be paying for it
    Raises the point of why they are so focussed on boosting Telstra’s value and dividend. Would it be so many of their supporters are carrying either T2 shares or bought T1 at the time when T2 was released at close to T2 prices. A lot of T1 holders made a killing

    • News flash….. A Telstra exchange is classed as a node, and every Telstra exchange aka NODE has had Fibre to it for decades! Its only the ‘last mile’ that is cooper! FTTN is here today!

      • Duhh, and prior to that there was a lot of carrier and coax to the node (exchange or satellite exchange), so big deal, the FTTN that is being discussed is to nodes within 1KM of user

        • Pfft and now is fibre to nodes within 1km of the user going to be any better or different to today?? Whats the final leg going to be? Wireless…. Yeah right there isn’t enough bandwidth there for every house to use that!

          Run new cables? Geee thats wise, so build new ‘nodes’ aka exchanges within 1km of everyones house and then dig up the ground to run cooper….. Yes thats going to be SO much cheaper than running fibre to the house and reusing the old existing exchange/duct locations.!

  15. Wow what a sob story, hate to break this to you but my cable is direct burried in the ground, I am lucky to obtain a synch speed of 4Mbit and that’s on a “good day”. I also live within a five minute drive of the Perth CBD and my story is nothing new for the area, it’s old and nothing has been maintained.

    Iinet gave up on me, told me I couldn’t have internet due to 1.5km of cable requiring replacing, so I changed to amnet and they persisted with Telstra until something was done. Mind you all Telstra did was the same as in the story above, 6 entire pairs left and they swapped them over until I could synch.

    The issue now is, the NBN is all around me, funnily enough in areas that already have coax or fibre yet I am told it’s likely eight years away for me.

    • “yet I am told it’s likely eight years away for me.”

      Just think if someone had the foresight to start building the NBN eight years ago you’d have it today.

    • “All around you”does not necessarily mean that it is in the right places.
      There is no point running a new fibre to your house if there is no fibre backhaul to connect it to.

      Unfair as it may seem, that means that in the most part, the people who get NBN first will be those who already have the best internet access.

  16. Dont wory folks, it will still be there if the Liberal party gets in. The Liberal parties village idiot keeps telling the australian public this is more than adequate for the future of australia’s telecommuncations network. Dont be folled Fibre To The Node (FTTN) will not remove this.

    If you really want this stuff gone write to your local MP, labor or liberal (if you truly believe in the NBN) and make sure Australia gets fibre to the home installed.

    Or get the liberal party a leader who understand how important this issue is because the current one despite not getting power because he did not support th NBN still hasnt realised this fact or how much Australia needs the NBN all the way to the home

  17. If NBN switches to FTTN there will be so many bad old copper runs that will need to be fixed that there will probably be little cost savings. Currently many are not getting 24Mbit sync on their ADSL2+, however ADSL2+ plans don’t guarantee full speed. Now that NBN services are being advertised with promised speeds could you imagine the outcry when someone pays for a 50Mbit service and they only get 12Mbit?

    • We sort of are already there today, Telstra already funs fibre to every exchange…. aka node…. FTTN is here today!

      You are correct, we will still need the last mile of cooper to get access, and lets face it, the cooper network is old and its had its day. It needs to be ripped out and replaced. 30+ year old cooper wires don’t last forever!

      Now is it wise to rip out cooper and put cooper back in? Or should we rip out cooper and put in fibre? Gee tough choice! Hopefully this time round, they do it in a serviceable way so new runs of fibre can be added/replaced as they become old and unusable.

      • When people refer to the node, they are talking about those little concrete dalek’s on the street, NOT the exchange. Stop spouting this, you’re wrong.

        The last mile refers to the copper lines from those boxes to the premises.

        FTTN provides a fibre upgrade from the exchange to those boxes, and FTTH provides fibre from the exchange to the box, and on to the premises. Thats the key difference between the two.

        Learn your basics before you start posting here, you’re going to continually get shot down if this is the best you can do.

        • While I won’t disagree that FTTN won’t service an area as big as a exchange is currently doing, my point it we pretty much have this setup today. We have fibre to the exchange (aka node), and then use a different delivery method for the ‘last mile’ to the house, which today is 40 year old cooper, the difference is an exchange is doing a larger area than what the FTTN is planning on. So if we are going to go to the trouble of running FTTN, why not just go all the way and do FTTH? We are 3/4 of the way there.

          With FTTN what is the final leg going to be? As the node isn’t located anywhere near the exchanges we have today we cant reuse any of that ageing old cooper, so that means running a new cable from the FTTN endpoint to my house? What will that be? Cooper? Fibre? Wireless?

          Wait hold on… So FTTN will still require running new cables to my house!? Then why would you take this option over a truly scalable option of FTTH?

          • Level380 – the exchange is NOT the node, thats what I’m trying to get across. By saying that, you’re undermining everything else you’re saying. We DONT have FTTN now, the exchange is NOT the node.

            Here’s the differences in a nutshell. If they run fibre from the exchange to the node, thats all they need to do. Its 1 line, to the junction box. Thats a fairly straightforward way of putting it, but thats the fundamental idea – 1 line from the exchange to each of the, at a guess, 50-100 junction boxes each exchange services.

            But all they need to roll out is those 50-100 lines for each of the 1200 or so exchanges.

            FTTH on the other hand needs to do that, plus run a line from each of those junction boxes to every premise they serve. Lets call it 500 premises each. So if an exchange has 50 junction boxes, that each serve 500 premises, thats 50 lines to boxes and 25000 lines to homes. Then boxes on the end of each of those 25000 lines… Those numbers are a guess (and more than willing to concede they are exagerated) so take em with a grain of salt. But they show the difference.

            Its not 75% of the way there with FTTN, its much less. Its that last mile issue, running the line from the junction box to the premise, that incurs the most cost. Cost of digging up the streets to run fibre to the nodes is key as well, giving cost efficiency to continuing the rollout to the premises, rather than needing to redig up those streets in 10, 20, 30 years time.

            And that, in a nutshell, is why there is so much debate between FTTN and FTTH. Is the cost of rolling fibre from the junction box to the premises worth it? Pro-NBN say yes, anti-NBN say no.

          • I just concepts are just lots on you….. So lets move on……. anyhow its my tax payer money paying for this, I’ll like it spent how I want to use it! Thanks!

          • No, NBNCo are borrowing money to fund the build it is NOT funded by the taxpayers. Years on still Liberal party members and anti-NBN campaigners spout this lie so regularly.

          • Yeah, lets move on. You dont seem to get that I’m trying to help you understand where you’re making a simple mistake…

            I agree with what you’re trying to say, just trying to help with how you say it. Fibre does not go to the node, as the node is referred to in general – it goes to the exchange, a key difference. You’re right that the exchange is a node in a lot of ways, but by confusing the terminology you’re just undermining your point, and looking a little silly along the way. Sorry.

            Once that bit is changed, the issue also changes. If they are rolling fibre out to those junction boxes (the real node), they why not go that extra 25% distance and roll it out to your premise? Fully agree there. 100%. Why not indeed.

            But its not as simple as figuring it to be 75% and going from there, simply because from that followon node to what you refer to, the scale of rollout increases by magnitudes. There is a LOT of work to finish that last bit – the last mile – that may or may not make the extra effort cost efficient.

            I think it does, like you, but that very issue is what fuels the differences in the debate. Is the cost worth it?

            As for ‘your’ tax payer dollars paying for it, well no, they dont. In the end, your wallet will pay for it IF you choose to use the service. Which you probably will. But its commercial cost, not taxpayer cost, that funds this.

            No taxpayer dollars will be harmed in the making of the NBN. According to the current plan at least.

    • Rob that won’t happen even if the coalition win the next election which I doubt will happen (watch Q&A on ABC1 9:35pm Mon 11th June) as the coalition have said that they will honor the commitments set by Labor for the NBN.

      • Existing contracts only, they have also started they will do it cheaper and quicker with a mix of technologies and greater private sector involvement etc. Read that how you will, my take is disastrous for Australia’s future , however the good news, a golden shower for some shareholders. Like the Vic Lib govt. laying off public servants then rehiring them on annual temporary contracts through a Labour hire company, they suffer massive drops in income and benefits, the Labour hire company makes a killing, the actual cost to the State barely changes, the stability and efficiency of the public service becomes a political tool. Yes men only need apply. The economic impact, those ex employees now cannot obtain a home loan, credit is high risk. the smart ones will sell their homes asap rather than lose all their assets and savings to delay the eventual foreclosure due to their loss of income.

  18. its really simple. if ftth goes in telstra doesn’t have to spend a dime. If the libs win, then telstra will get heavily subsidised to “upgrade” or more correctly read FIX the copper so we can all get fttn, or the probable more likely solution telstra will just pocket most of the money, run some fibre to the street cabinets and proclaim “its all good”

    • This is what I expect would happen with FTTN as well. Then Telstra will dump the problem off to your ISP, and you’re in a perpetual roundabout of blame to try and get that last mile to be functional.

  19. I think that people should say which ISP they are with when complaining about poor quality service. Not to name and shame but so that readers will have an indication which ISP’s have more difficulty getting faults resolved and how quickly they are resolved.
    Of course I am only generalizing here but I suspect that people on bigpond have less problems or don’t realize they have problems as much as people from other isp’s.
    I personally have had my line repaired 7 times in the last 2 years and still only get speeds (which vary at different times of the day) between 2M and 6M whilst paying for a 8M plan.
    Now, If you bought a 2Ltr bottle of coke and only got 1Ltr in it you would take it back for an exchange for a full one, but apparently it’s ok for the telecoms industry to supply less than advertised.
    I’d also like to point out at this point that I’m with iinet and the maximum speed that can be supplied is 8M due to the distance I am from the exchange. When I first signed up, I was getting steady 7800s for the first 2 years. Nothing new has been installed in that time apart from updated firmware on my original router and that router then being replaced with a billion router. The speeds had been stable until last year. The only thing I think it could be is that sending adsl signals down copper line must degrade the line quality over time. I say this because the pits are for all intents and purposes clean and dry and all the connections are waterproof between my place and the exchange. (yes I’ve seen this with my own eyes. Don’t bother asking how I was able to look at them as you won’t receive an answer except to say that I’ve been fortunate enough to see them over the years.) The other reason I say it must be the adsl signal is because no new houses have been built in our area for at least 8 years and many of my neighbors are computer illiterate due to most of them being 70+ years of age and aren’t interested in computers. Really, what else could it be?

  20. It costs 10’s of thousands of dollars per kilometer to lay a cable.

    Telstra is a private company. By law the directors of a private company MUST operate that company in a manner that maximises the return to it’s owners or risk significant jail time.

    If Telstra were to spend say $250,000 replacing a cable all the way back to the exchange and then receive $5/month line access fees from ISP’s for naked ADSL access as mandated by the ACCC, the directors of the company would be in breach of corporation law. Knowingly investing in infrastructure that can never make a profit would be a clear breach of corporate responsibility.

    It is not in Telstra’s interests because it would be breaking the law.

  21. One of the biggest problems with FTTN that nobody seems to consider is that at teh node, you have to convert the light back into electricity whereas FTTP is passive all the way.

    That means obtaining a bunch of roadside boxes and paying rent on the space, connecting power to the box (not cheap) and waiting and holding up teh rol-out until it is connected.
    All that electricity is also an ongoing expense that FTTP simply does not have.

    Take a look at Telstra’s annual report. It’s single greatest operating expense after wages is electricity.

  22. “I want to make the point that this isn’t the experience which most Australians ”

    well I think you would be wrong on that point. Degrading copper in ground network is a very common problem in all older suburbs (say 30+ years old). Ive lived in Brisbane and Toowoomba, within a few kms of the exchange, and i both places have to lodge a fault every three months to fix faulty joints. When it rains and the joints get wet, problems galore. Telstra is a joke.

    Most of the network needs to be renewed. IT is past its use by date right NOW.

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