Tasmanians have copper cut off before NBN connected



Update: This article initially apportioned blame for this situation to Telstra. However, Delimiter now believes the primary responsibility for this situation lies with retail ISP Eftel, and somewhat with NBN Co.

blog You would think … you would really think, that there would be no possible way that NBN Co, Telstra and retail ISPs like Eftel could so badly coordinate the changeover process from Telstra’s copper network to NBN Co’s fibre network that any resident could be left without telecommunications access. After all, there is supposed to be an 18 month window between the time the NBN’s fibre is deployed in an area and the copper cut off. But no. Somewhere along the line, this basic process has hit fail territory. From the ABC (we recommend you click here for the full article) comes the news that some Tasmanians are having their copper cut off before the NBN’s fibre is connected. A sample paragraph:

“The Lewincamp family lives in an area where the network is available, but one month ago its internet and phone connection on the old copper network was cut by the service provider. Sona Lewincamp runs a business from home and is struggling to get connected to the NBN.”

So what’s happened here? I’ve done a bit of digging, and this one looks like it’s down to a combination of incompetence from retail ISP Eftel and NBN Co. It appears as though Eftel informed Lewincamp that his ADSL connection was now defunct, because the NBN had technically been rolled out to his area. The ISP then informed its ADSL wholesaler, Telstra, to cut the connection. But the transfer to NBN Co was bungled, because NBN Co hasn’t been able to get through its backlog to get the new connection done.

What should have happened is this: Eftel should never have asked Telstra to cut the ADSL connection until the NBN’s fibre connection was actually active. That would have avoided the whole situation. And there’s also a big fat sack of blame to hang on NBN Co here, in that its activation processes in Tasmania appear to be abysmal, and in that it doesn’t appear to have properly trained Eftel in how to do the switchover.

Let me write this in very plain and simply English so that the bozos responsible for this outcome (primarily at Eftel) understand: You are a big fat, pathetic joke. You are incompetent. You are a bunch of imbeciles who could not organise a chook raffle in a country pub. Whoever let this situation happen should be fired immediately. You suck.

This was the situation that was never supposed to happen under the NBN. An 18 month window was set up between the connection of the NBN and the disconnection of the copper so that this would never happen. And yet someone has allowed it to happen. How ridiculous. How farcical. Fibre running past people’s houses and yet they can’t connect to it because of bureaucracy, while they’re trying to run businesses.

Everyone involved in this should be ashamed. You are failures. This is how far the NBN project has now come. It has become a farce.

Image credit: Star Trek: The Next Generation


  1. “This is how far the NBN project has now come. It has become a farce.”

    Get ready for the next chapter. We will be the laughing stock of the world when it comes to internet access. I thought we were the smart country, clearly there are a couple of smart people in the country but they aren’t anywhere near the NBN or parliament for that matter.


    • Duh.
      Please have a look at the past 2 decades of politicians that got voted in… then think of the process that put them there…. then commit suicide from all the stupid.
      I know I am.

    • Actually, under the LNP NBN plan we will become the “Connected Country”. Under this model the more well connected you are to the LNP you will get a job for the boys to implement current political rhetoric regardless of the actual value of that rhetoric.

      For those who are not well connected to the LNP – you’re shit out of luck really.

  2. The question is did Lewincamp wait until the disconnection of service apply? If the connection has been available in the area for 18months and you rely on it for your business WTF would you wait until the last minute to move over.

    This was always going to happen.

    • My thoughts exactly SMEMatt. They probably sat on their backsides doing nothing and now expect NBNCo etc to do it tomorrow. bet we see the same issue in other areas. All the last second johnnies complaining that they can’t get their fibre connection the day they order it.
      They are also running a business that apparently needs internet so where is their backup/emergency connection? Or where they relying on a residential product to keep their business going?

    • @SMEMatt,

      According to one source the first disconnections are supposed to happen in May 2014:


      The Australian also reports that Mr Lewincamp, in anticipation of the switchover, signed up with another ISP instead of Eftel – as is his right.


      But, it appears that, because Eftel advised NBN Co to cut off the copper early Mr Lewincamp was left in no-man’s land.

      Even if it were Lewincamp’s fault – which I don’t believe it is – we can expect to see many more problems like this when the official start date of the copper turn-off comes around.

      I imagine that public awareness of forced migration is very low and I’m wondering whether people will be prepared for the mass disconnections that will begin next year.

      • Never fear we are all saved now, because Malcolm Turnbull (who virtually invented the interwebs) is at the wheel…

        I’m sure all of this will be managerially averted with ease, with such expert guidance (so we have been told by his cheerleaders here at Delimiter anyway)……

        Of course, this is once his first port of call, a simple (already overdue) initial review is finally done… *sigh*

  3. Isn’t that the idea of the migration? Ensure high takeup on NBN by forcing people of copper. This seems like precisely what was meant to happen (although maybe they should give some leeway to people who have NBN orders in the system)

  4. We’ve spoken with Mr Lewincamp and he advises that the his ISP, *Eftel* advised him in writing his ADSL would be disconnected mid-way through the NBN fibre connection process (despite his objections) … something that ABC declined to report.

    Telstra would have simply been following their contractual agreements with NBNCo to disallow copper-based services to be (re)connected over their own DSLAMS or spectrum sharing services.

    The ‘bozos’ in this situation might be those that didn’t add any clauses to the contracts to allow for reconnection of copper based services where the customer had been mistakenly disconnected.
    Other ‘bozos’, those who haven’t setup blanket approvals for aerial fibre connections, which is now taking months to gain from the poles and wires provider in Tasmania.

    • So as is common in these situations, the devil is in the detail. If there is an independant third party thats added to the issue, it kind of changes the problem… Water’s starting to get muddier.

  5. It would be reasonable to assume that if the Lewincamp’s ADSL connect was probably not the fastest and that the faster NBN would have been an improvement. Why didn’t they sign up 2 years ago?

    • Whoa fella!

      We’re just the guys who invested 30 seconds to find Mr Lewincamp’s number and 30 minutes to discuss the issue with him in the interests of finding out the full story.

      • Basic fact-checking, and verification of a story by going to the original source?

        You guys definitely aren’t journalists!

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