Naked DSL subject to water damage: Telstra


news The nation’s biggest telco Telstra has opened up another front in its ongoing struggle against being forced to sell naked DSL services to customers and other ISPs, arguing that selling naked DSL would cause a significantly higher number of costly network faults from water damage than other types of broadband services.

A number of Telstra’s major rivals, such as iiNet and TPG, have sold so-called ‘naked DSL’ services, where ADSL broadband is provided to customers without the requirements of a bundled traditional PSTN telephone line, for half a decade. iiNet, for example, first launched naked DSL to customers in November 2007, and had 131,000 customers using the service in June last year. Many of iiNet’s customers bundle cheap IP telephony services with its naked DSL platform. However, Telstra has consistently declined to provide the service to customers, preferring instead to sell bundled services including monthly traditional PSTN line rental plans, which are typically more expensive than IP telephony options.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is currently examining the case for stronger regulation of the way in which Telstra provides wholesale ADSL services to retail ISPs such as iiNet, TPG and Optus. However, Telstra has proven extremely reluctant to pursue the case for naked DSL. In a submission to the regulator published in September, Telstra argued that deploying naked DSL would require it to undertake significant development of its IT systems, and in a new submission filed last week (and first reported by iTNews), the telco went further.

In its new submission (available online in PDF format), Telstra argued that offering a naked DSL service would cause “increased fault rates” in its network. The telco noted that its copper network could suffer “corrosion” caused by “moist air” and “actual water ingress” to the cables which make up its infrastructure. For high-quality, high-cost broadband services based on the SHDSL/BDSL standards, Telstra wrote, international standards provided a way to cope with this issue through the use of a “continuous wetting current” of several milliamps which ran from telephone exchanges to a “sink” in the high-end SHDSL end-user modem.

The telco added: “However, for ADSL services, which were designed to work on the same line as [traditional voice telephone lines], the underlying telephone service performs the wetting function, with the loop current breaking through the oxide layer whenever the handset is lifted. Hence there is no provision for wetting current in the ADSL standards, and neither the exchange DSLAM nor the customer modem supports wetting current.”

Telstra noted that those ISPs – almost all of its rivals – which currently sold naked DSL currently used the unbundled local loop wholesale service which it sold them, or by acquiring naked DSL services from other wholesale providers. Based on this knowledge, Telstra said, it had compared the number of faults (known as ‘interference investigation requests’) on ULLS connections versus those on traditional bundled telephone line connections over a six month period. It provided a table detailing such faults, although the actual statistics in the table were blacked out in its ACCC submission.

“ … over the six month period from March to August 2012, the rate of Interference investigation requests for ULLS services is around 177% of the rate of Interference investigation requests for [traditional line sharing service or LSS] services,” wrote Telstra. “This is a significant difference.”

Telstra noted in its submission that it expected the charges for these claimed additional naked DSL faults to be passed on to end users by their ISPs. And those charges could be substantial. During business hours, this kind of fault investigation would cost an initial $85, plus $35 for every 15 minutes, and after hours $270, plus $50 for every 15 minutes.

“While it is difficult to forecast the demand for a Naked [wholesale ADSL or WDSL] service – if such a service was to be mandated – it is clear that the likely result would be a higher rate of Interference investigation requests, with the attendant costs and poorer service quality for end users than is the case for WDSL services today,” Telstra wrote. “Clearly, such a requirement would also impose costs upon Telstra – its technicians would be required to spend a greater proportion of their time identifying and rectifying the faults that result from the lack of an underlying PSTN service, on top of the existing levels of field work that they are already required to carry out.”

“For these reasons (and those set out in Section 3 of its August submission), Telstra considers that the Commission must recognise that a requirement to provide a wholesale Naked DSL offer would (subject to there being demand for such a service) lead to an increase in fault rates, and impose greater costs to identify and rectify faults as they occur.”

Telstra additionally claimed, using the submissions of other telcos such as iiNet and AAPT, that its rivals were aware of the issue. For example, AAPT wrote in a prior submission that in its opinion, any quality difference between PSTN-based ADSL broadband and naked DSL “seems to be of little relevance”. iiNet and Adam Internet (which Telstra has since announced it will acquire) also appeared to argue that the issue was not relevant to the naked DSL debate.

Despite its unwillingness to modify its systems to sell either retail or wholesale naked DSL services, Telstra has actually conducted a trial in the past of naked DSL services on its network. The company kicked off a trial of naked DSL services in early June 2010, stating that it would conduct a two-year pilot of the services. However, the trial was quickly canned in October the following year, with the telco confirming it would not launch naked DSL as a commercial service.

It is believed that Telstra did not modify its IT systems to handle naked DSL during the trial, but instead applied billing credits to customers on the trial to cover the cost of their PSTN telephone service, in a manual process.

Without further supporting evidence, I find it very hard to know which side is right in this case. Is Telstra technically correct, that naked DSL services are inherently less stable and more prone to faults than those broadband services based on traditional ADSL? Right now, it’s pretty hard to tell on a national scale, as Telstra pointed out, because current naked DSL services are actually based on Telstra’s wholesale ULLS product, in which it appears that a traditional telephone line is actually technically connected, but just not used. The wholesale naked DSL service which Telstra’s rivals are seeking from it right now is a fundamentally different type of product.

However, personally I do find it very hard to take Telstra’s objections on this issue seriously. Is the issue of water damage seriously that big an issue for Telstra that there would be a difference in quality between naked DSL and traditional ADSL broadband connections? I highly doubt it. Years of experience has meant that I broadly trust telcos such as iiNet on this issue. With all the experience iiNet has troubleshooting broadband faults originating within Telstra’s network, I would think iiNet would have come across this issue and have an opinion worth listening to by now. Personally I suspect that this new rationale will go down as just another one in the long list of ridiculous excuses which Telstra has publicly broadcast over the years as new salvos in its ongoing war to prevent it being forced to provide naked DSL services to customers – a service which customers clearly want.


  1. Question, would this be the same under a FTTN scenario since Copper is still at the lastmile?

    • It depends on if they add a wetting current. VDSL DSLAMs don’t but there is not reason they couldn’t add one. No reason naked ADSL couldn’t have a wetting current applied either. It’s just that it is part of the PSTN system at the moment.

      • No reason naked ADSL couldn’t have a wetting current applied either
        except that the end user’s modem would need to be able to deal with that current.
        i doubt that there is even one single consumer product on the market that can do that.

        • It does. Even with naked you can plug your modem directly into the phone socket. It doesn’t blow up, it works. It’s a standard part of trouble shooting to remove the filter.

      • Provisioning a”wetting current” for FTTN would of course mean significant increases in both provisioning (since extras equipment is required) and operation (tens of millions of wetting currents is going to add up to a significant increase in electricity costs over that required just to power the equipment in the cabinets.

  2. “I would think iiNet would have come across this issue and have an opinion worth listening to by now.”
    They don’t have to fix the lines. Wetting current to breakdown corrosion film on joints has been common practice for years. Without it corrosion in joints form copper oxide diode type behaviour.

    There was a paper written by a testra technician on a related matter. I think you may have published it here? It was stating that the testing method used by Telstra technicians made faults disappear. He was saying they messured the lines by putting a voltage down it and thus breaking down the oxide layer. The customer would then be charged for a callout since no problem was found with the line. He mentioned that sometimes picking up the telephone could also fix the problem.

  3. My Father works for BigPond and it’s widely known within the company that the only thing stopping BigPond from delivering Naked DSL services is the Telephony arm of the Business which still call all of the shots – they are are simply terrified of becoming irrelevant and losing their huge PSTN Telephony profits!

  4. This explains a lot. “Increased fault rates” due to “corrosion” caused by “moist air” and “actual water ingress” to cables.

    I had up to now assumed that the reason my phone service broke down every month or so was due to Telstra “giving the finger” to anyone “not in a city”. But apparently it’s because I don’t make enough calls and nobody likes me enough to call me either. If I had just lifted the handset often enough to punish those naughty oxide layers, everything would be much more reliable. Except ADSL of any kind, because we can’t get it, because Telstra isn’t interested in laying in a new cable that would allow us to connect to the closer RIM instead of the very distant exchange via pair gain.

    My preference would be for a “continuous wetting current” to be applied to some of the people at Telstra Countrywide who on multiple occasions failed to call me back with any information as to how I could have the same thing done to my phone line that was done to my neighbours to let them get ADSL.

    A very helpful Telstra tech later told me the only reason my neighbours could get ADSL is because there were no pairs left on the pair gain at the time, so their line got patched via a number of intermediate pillars back to said RIM. The consolation I was left with is that their service might be barely ADSL-capable, but it was unlikely to work very well either. =:^/

  5. Renai,

    may not like this but

    Telstra should be allowed to decide whether they offer sell anything to the iinet and troublemaker part internode any services

    iinet and internode should not be trusted to be good wholesalers customers

    these 2 are only interested in profits not their consumers

    • “Telstra should be allowed to decide whether they offer sell anything to the iinet and troublemaker part internode any services”

      If that had been allowed to be the case over the past 10 years, very few Australians would enjoy ADSL broadband of any form today.

      • I don’t believe you can say that with any authority.

        Quite likely bad DSL would have stimulated more interest in things like HFC.

        I have HFC running right to my house… I can’t be bothered using it because I found ADSL is very good. Another casualty for the HFC rollout that could get market traction, but anyhow I use iiNet naked DSL and switching to Telstra HFC would probably be more expensive (last I tried asking at Telstra they were too confused to give me an actual quote on HFC, but anyhow the box has a Telstra logo on it, so I presume they installed it).

        • I think that the proof is in the pudding in what happened in 2007. T$ had restricted all ADSL services to 1.5mbps yet somehow managed to delivery ADSL2+ services in around 1500+ exchanges within a month of Internode turning on its first ADSL2+ DSLAM. One influencer at the time in the ACCC dealings was T$’s inability or unwillingness to wholesale HFC products meaning DSL was the only alternative as Wireless was still too young and T$ wasn’t wholesaling that either!

          T$ have since used all sorts of tactics to delay other ISPs in using Exchange floor space to install DSLAMs and other tactics the ACCC has ruled illegal. This is just another maximize profit play in an area only competing ISPs actually provide a service in. Actually, that is quite brilliant because the ACCC has used price differentials between T$ retail products and T$ wholesale products to determine effects and impacts of competition and power.

    • All of them are primarily interested in profit.

      The ACCC and the government actually have an interest in “consumers” though. Being able to “declare” a service reduces Telstra’s freedom to rip people off, while improving the situation for consumers.

      As a consumer, I’m quite happy with this arrangement.

  6. Looks like the NBN cant get here quick enough. Telstra want to milk as much as they can out of the copper and consumers. It’s simply amazing that some people still believe they can be trusted with our communications infrastructure and just think if the coalition of clowns win the election next year it’ll be more of the same.

    • Yes, it sounds very much as though Telstra are setting themselves (and everybody else) up for the brave new world of the Coalition bits-n-pieces non-NBN world.

      Back to the future, with poor standards, lousy service and eyewatering charges? We deserve a lot better than this.

  7. Snarkiness aside, it sounds like Telstra’s claim that ADSL services rely on a POTS service to provide whetting current (that’s the spelling in the Wikipedia entry) is not really true for ADSL2:

    This press release for a DC termination IC is from 2008, and claims that the ITU-T G.992.3 standard for ADSL2 has a provision for DC whetting current:

    I wonder:
    – do most ADSL2 modems have this feature?
    – are the ADSL2 line cards used by ISPs to connect to a completely unbundled local loop capable of generating whetting current? Or can they be ganged together with a device that could do so?

    If the modems are able to draw enough current to get the protective effect, it seems a bit arrogant for Telstra to maintain that they are the only entity with the technical prowess to deliver 10mA @ 48V to a phone line from the exchange.

    If the extra current occasionally drawn during an active phone call helps further, why not connect a dummy load box to the line and get the user to poke the switchhook on the device a couple of times a day? Label the button “release ghost repellent” or something similar to acknowledge the ridiculousness of having to regularly operate a physical switch to keep your 21st century internet access going in the style that Telstra prefers.

    • There should be no issue with providing the standard 48VDC over every Naked line.

      To provide the DC load, you can take an existing ADSL filter (they come with pretty much every modem) and connect a resistor to the phone socket.

      You could even add a blue LED. Free night light!

      Trust Telstra to make a big deal out of a trivial problem.

      • PS.

        If the load needs to be applied periodically rather than constantly, add $10 for a circuit to switch the load on and off automatically (cheaper than the handset they would rather have you plug in).

        • If AC current does the job as well as DC (and given that the twisted pair is symmetric I can’t see why not) then the DSL carrier itself should be perfectly adequate.

    • ‘to provide whetting current (that’s the spelling in the Wikipedia entry)’

      illustrates only that Wikipedia is not the final arbiter of all questions. ‘Whetting’ is the process of sharpening the cutting-edge of a tool by grinding material from the edge. The word is figuratively used also in expressions such as ‘whetting an appetite’, just as the cognate word ‘honing’ is used figuratively in ‘honing a skill’.

      The figurative use of ‘wetting’ in the context of electrical contacts, whether those be the movable contacts of a switch or corroded dissimilar-metals in a joint, alludes to provision or the making of a clean interface for the metallic surfaces. It is achieved by addition of a genuinely-liquid conductive or cleaning layer, or most often, by use of a ‘helper’ pulse or trickle of current to break down or ‘punch through’ a poorly-conductive layer caused by corrosion.

      Much modern English is also used figuratively, as has always been the case, but fewer and fewer of such usages are nowadays recognized as being so. An etymological dictionary even of the standing of the OED, wherein the origins of words are shown together with at least some of their later usages, still cannot ‘define’ every figurative use. Why? Because, in the last gasp, much figurative usage of words depends on the separate meanings and connotations given to a word by speaker/writer and hearer/reader. Without that freedom, poetry would lose one of its most effective ‘weapons’. But information cannot be conveyed by misuse, such as malapropisms, of words.

  8. Telstra’s really trying to wiggle their way out of this one. They’re pulling all the stops out here in an effort to do whatever they can to hold onto that Last Mile infrastructure.

    *Tin foil hat stuff*

    I’d suggest that this may be a play for a ‘both-ways’ style bet. They probably figure that if the LNP are planning to take on the Copper network, that in order for them to be paid they’d need to have a sort of ‘unit of measure’ to be paid on. The current NBNCo arrangement is paid based on connected or contracted customers with the relevant carrier – so Telstra or Optus. I’d imagine that they’d use a similar means but it would be based on ‘fixed line rental paid’ or some such unit – which may be why they dont want to give up to Naked DSL so easily. It would mean they’re not in a position to double dip (if the customer wasnt being charged line rental) – where they have payments for their own customers converted to FTTN / FTTH from Copper and then a payment from the relevant telco for the service.

    On the other hand, it could be just complete smoke and mirrors.

    *Tin foil hat off*

    I dont think its likely a matter of (with reference to ADSL vs Naked) ‘which way is more reliable’ – that was probably something to consider many years ago – but since Telstra really dont make much effort to look after the network anyway – any evidence would be moot.

  9. It doesn’t really matter what excuse they use – it would be a lose lose for them to offer naked adsl. It increases their support costs and lowers their revenue. Once you get out of the high density areas with multiple ISP DSLAMS in an exchange, there’s no competitive incentive to go naked.

  10. Don’t forget that 100% of naked DSL phone lines have an internet connection on them, whereas only about 20% of PSTN services have an internet connection attached to them. Factoring in the article last week about “177% more faults” (I’m surprised its not 577%*) and now this next diversion, it is clear that Telstra are only protecting their cash cow, the PSTN line-rental.

    I’ve been naked for 4 years and logged a whole 1 fault with Telstra, which followed some pretty major flooding in the area. I don’t think it was my DSL service that caused the excess water in the lines (pretty sure the flood did that) but the degradation in service is far more noticeable for data (dropped our ADSL2+ to <1Mb, 13Mb after tech visit) than for voice.

    * With 5x as many internet connection there should be more faults logged as a voice service will still work within tolerance far, far below the line conditions required to operate "acceptable" ADSL services

  11. It sounds like the equivalent of having to turn a rotary over every few months to stop the engine from seizing through disuse.

    Not exactly the best platform for a new national broadband network, which it will be if Turnbull gets his way. So I guess naked FTTN is out of the question too? So much for VOIP.

  12. So Telstra has poor maintenance standards allowing the lines to become wet in the first place. I love their spin doctoring.

    • To be fair, this is a well-established practice for preventing oxide buildup between conductors, and it is used all over the world; if you live in a humid coastal city, you probably want your RJ sockets to stay nice and fresh by zapping through any oxide or corrosion every now and then.

      The issue is whether the whetting current has to be generated by Telstra POTS equipment at continued $3x/month expense…

  13. ” … over the six month period from March to August 2012, the rate of Interference investigation requests for ULLS services is around 177% of the rate of Interference investigation requests for [traditional line sharing service or LSS] services,”

    If we get past the daftness of a fully blacked-out table of statistics and accept this figure, it’s a stretch to say this proves anything at all. Importantly, this is ONLY comparing interference investigation REQUESTS. My gut tells me that Naked DSL customers are far more likely to complain about poor connections where service is still working but slower/less reliable than expected.

    Getting away from conjecture, though: Telstra should have several years of statistics to draw on here. It would be very interesting to see not only request rates but OUTCOMES (fault/no fault, repairs, etc), and also to have this broken down by exchange, and compared to voice fault/repair rates in the same areas over the same period… Point is, there’s a lot of ways Telstra could work to prove their point beyond a token statistical effort backed up by references to Whirlpool threads (lol).

  14. I have no doubt Telstra is coming out with all this now for the wrong reasons, but yes, Naked DSL is inherently less stable for the reasons stated. This isn’t the first we’ve heard about it; it’s been referenced elsewhere (including by other ISPs in Australia on Whirlpool) in the past.

    This is why so many people port from a standard PSTN+DSL service to naked and actually experience a *loss* in sync speed, even though all other variables are the same.

    Doesn’t really make a reason not to offer Naked DSL in and of itself, but regardless they do make a point.

    Also anecdotally: I have NEVER had a truly stable naked connection after it rains. ever. :)

    • The reason ppl get worse sync speeds after switching to naked DSL has nothing to do with removing the voice service and everything to do with ppl removing their DSL filters thinking that they don’t need them anymore when in fact they are quite good at removing unwanted line noise by only allowing the modem to “see” the dsl frequency range.

  15. It’s a poor photo because I snapped it while walking past, and couldn’t be bothered setting up a tripod, etc. No I don’t have one of those “always makes your hand steady” cameras!

    Point is that maintenance has nothing to do with copper, and nothing to do with the laws of physics either. It is purely a matter of incentive and whether people can be bothered to do it properly. You can do a bad job of maintaining any piece of equipment under any circumstance.

    By the way, I can personally testify to walking past the same plastic bag for several weeks of regularly rainy days.

    • @Tel

      Great photo.

      Now photoshop the plastic bag out entirely and you’ll see what my local pillar looked like for a WEEK. That’s right, it took Telstra 7 days to come put the top on the pillar, which was totally bare. It rained 5 times in that time.

      Telstra need to be removed from “looking after the copper”. Namely so the “looking after” actually gets done.

      Thank god the NBN is coming. And no, I don’t care what you think of the NBN, it’s gotta be better than dealing with oxide layers by wasting power, JUST so a customer can have a stable line and use 19th Century technology.

      • So your answer to poorly maintained copper is to throw away the copper? Rather than do regular maintenance on your car I presume you just throw away the car and buy a new one.

        Hmmm, probably you don’t have a car, seeing as how the motor vehicle is a 19th Century technology, well have fun on your hoverboard, but for the rest of us who still use those old fashioned things called “wheels” we find that a bit of love and care and oil can make a big difference.

        The reason that Telstra doesn’t maintain the copper is because there is no commercial incentive to do so, but there is a commercial incentive to jealously guard their rights to prevent anyone else from touching it. The ACCC imposes price fixing and price fixing discourages supply and creates shortages. Central planning fails each and every time it is attempted.

        Strangely people think that firstly fiber optic networks need no maintenance, but secondly that by repeating all the mistakes that were made setting up Telecom, we will get a better outcome.

        • @Tel

          So your answer to poorly maintained copper is to throw away the copper? Rather than do regular maintenance on your car I presume you just throw away the car and buy a new one.

          My answer to continually spending hundreds of dollars on a 20 year old car, is to buy a new or near new one….that seems sensible to me…..

          Hmmm, probably you don’t have a car, seeing as how the motor vehicle is a 19th Century technology

          Mate, I do 55000km a year. My car is 2 years old and has done 115000.

          we find that a bit of love and care and oil can make a big difference.

          And I service my car RELIGIOUSLY at every service interval. It has been serviced 7 times and STILL cost me less than paying the extra fuel and expensive specially ordered parts for my 12 year old Japanese car I owned beforehand.

          The reason that Telstra doesn’t maintain the copper is because there is no commercial incentive to do so, but there is a commercial incentive to jealously guard their rights to prevent anyone else from touching it.

          So….wait, you’re HAPPY that Telstra can do this??? You’re HAPPY that Telstra can happily gouge their customers (both retail AND wholesale) either via prices or via poor services?? The only thing keeping this in check IS THE ACCC.

          Strangely people think that firstly fiber optic networks need no maintenance

          Whoever said that?? I’ve never seen anyone Pro-NBN say fibre needs NO maintenance. But fact is, it only needs approx. 1/3 the maintenance. That’s a $650 Million/year saving….

          but secondly that by repeating all the mistakes that were made setting up Telecom, we will get a better outcome.

          Except they aren’t…..because NBNCo. are WHOLESALE ONLY.

        • You also don’t put a turbo charger on a car built in the 1900s.

          There may have been mistake made with Telecom but have infrastructure in public hand was not one of them. There are lots of other good things Telecom and other public owned infrastructure was responsible for. Do a survey asking how many or our older tradies were trained in government infrastructure companies then ask yourself why we have a skills shortage now. It is because private business will put short term profit over the long term national benefit every-time even when that benefit might held them.

  16. So am I reading this right….. Wetting current is only applied when I lift the handset? Well most people like me using VoIP, don’t lift the handset at all. So will my line faults increase unless I pick up the phone every now and again.

    • There’s a tiny bit of current flowing all the time, and more when you take the phone off the hook. And yes, I’ve seen discussions where people have seen improvements in their flaky ADSL connections by lifting their phones from the hook a few times.

      If someone rings your POTS phone number, then that’s potentially more current again – it had to run the magnets that operated the bell in times past. Wonder if they still provide that much power?

      • On the other hand, if the only reason you have that magic phone service is coz Telstra insist, and you really did not want it, then you likely don’t actually have a phone plugged into it, coz you realy did not want it. So this lifting of the handset and ringing of the phone wont ever happen anyway. How is that different from just having naked DSL? Apart from having to pay more for the phone service you did not want and don’t use.

        Note that none of this applies to South Brisbane fibre. No copper, no oxide that needs to be fixed, no current flowing through the fibre ever. Yet Telstra still insist on charging for an entirely fictional phone line when all you want is Internet.

  17. Well, I’ve got two lines into my home. One we kept as PSTN, because we’re old fashioned. The other is Naked DSL. 4 years- no faults on either. According to Telstra, that’s just wrong ;)

    As for Jason’s comments, really? Of course they want to make a profit, however without Iinet and Internode there probably would still be a bunfight trying to get ADSL2 services into Telstra exchanges. They paved the way, they helped introduce true competition into the Australian DSL marketplace. And how do they make a profit? By keeping their customers happy. Just because Telstra want to maintain monopoly profits, doesn’t mean that they should be allowed to.

  18. Telstra do not want to change the way they do things. How surprising! We’ve heard all these kinds of excuses before. Once again, they have to be forced kicking and screaming to give up their old cash cows and get with the program. Oh, I so wish Labor can get another term so we can save the NBN in its present form. Can’t wait to say goodbye to Telstra forever.

  19. I am surprise no one has said this. The reason naked DSL has more faults logged than LSS DSL is obvious to me – people with LSS DSL would try to find and log a voice fault first. A voice fault is fixed more quickly than a DSL fault. Check out the whirlpool forums, that is the standard advice given to people asking for help.

    If Telstra wants to be honest with their figures, they need to compare the total number of faults raised for ULL lines with the total number of faults (voice + DSL) raised on LSS lines.

  20. “With all the experience iiNet has troubleshooting broadband faults originating within Telstra’s network,”

    I would not think that IINet has much if any experience repairing hardware faults within Telstra’s network.
    As your article itself points out, they would have absolutely no experience with THIS cause of faults since the current practice provides a standard (unused) telephone service to provide the wetting current as part of the product “current naked DSL services are actually based on Telstra’s wholesale ULLS product, in which it appears that a traditional telephone line is actually technically connected”.

  21. @Renai I assure you that Telstra are not lying. I have been in the same unit for many years and had internet (with a phone line) at about 21mbps. Over many years (of no phone usage) it dropped to 18mbit and as a bonus I went from a dropout every month or two to SIX dropouts a day. I dreaded it rain as it would get even worse. iInet investigated… “yeah there might be a fault but we can only test both ends, can’t test the middle. If you are happy to accept any charges from Telstra (min $100) then we will push it further, otherwise we are closing this incident”. Problem solved for them, leaving me with an unreliable service (and I just love haivng to keep typign in RSA token keys to reconnect the work VPN…) Low and behold I read about wetting current on Wikipedia. I started leaving the phone off the hook (line loop current increase from less than 1ma to over 10ma) and low and behold my line is now stable, dropping out a couple of times a week if that. I really believe them when they talk about wetting current, and you should too. I have to laugh when I keep hearing from politicians that copper is still the future. Bring on the NBN!

  22. people keep mentioning taking the phone off the hook.
    with older phones, there is a physical switch involved in going off hook.

    how does this work with cordless phones?

    how does the base station for the cordless phone trigger an “off hook” signal to allow the whetting current to flow?

    • @Clinton

      I believe, with cordless phones, there is a relay in the base-station, just like a physical switch on the corded phones. It simply is a make/break circuit. There is a digital interface with the cordless handset that, when it receives a “pickup” signal, it triggers the relay and you get- dial tone.

        • @Clinton’

          Definitely. For ANY dial-tone to be in existence, a current has to be applied. A higher current for “wetting” can simply be dealt with via a resistance circuit in the phone. It’ll be part of Australian standards for phone manufacturing.

  23. I have had two Telstra callouts in 18 months to fix my Internode ADSL slowness (though even at best, it only achieves 3 Mbps). Neither was logged as an ADSL call – they were both logged ostensibly to fix crackly voice call quality. When we were switched onto a cleaner copper pair, voice call background noise was reduced, and the ADSL speed improved a little.

    So the claimed 177% higher rate of naked line faults versus normal ADSL line faults is certainly overstated.

    And the elephant in the room is of course that Telstra will fight tooth-and-nail not to sell naked ADSL because it makes a killing from voice telephony, perhaps even stooping to lies, damned lies and statistics.

  24. I only have 2 numbers, which explains why Telstra keep coming up with new ways to stave off Wholesale Naked DSL:

    1- 59%

    2- 35%

    Number 1 is the profit margin on PSTN phone services.

    Number 2 is the profit margin on ADSL services.

    /End argument

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