Archive for January, 2010

The Campaign Continues

January 27th, 2010

It has now been 11 months since Telstra was notified of congestion issues affecting 20,000+ potential users connected to 70+ RIM/CMUX devices in the Gungahlin area, Watson and other north Canberra suburbs. Over that 11 months nothing has happened to increase the level of service and nothing has happened to provide users with a restoration time frame.

Since August 2009 I have written letters to my ISP through support tickets and to Senior representatives at Internode. I have written two letters to all the Legislative Assembly Members for Molonglo with some good and some average responses.

I have also contributed to National Broadband Forum with one of my submissions included for discussion. I have met with Federal Senator Kate Lundy and received two letters from Senator Conroy’s office, the last being five days ago. I have represented the issue on ABC radio 666 Canberra and received heaps of letters of support and interest from the general public.

2009 was a big year.

With the beginning of a new year comes a change in tac for me and this campaign. The break has given me a chance to review what has occurred and what needs to come. During this time I have come to some conclusions and made some decisions about what I can achieve and what is “flogging a dead horse” named Telstra.

In early January 2010 I decided to investigate the possibility of using TransACT as a service provider. I realised I had spent over $1000.00 dollars on an ADSL service that was unable to deliver any value for 11 months. This was wasted money and I am unwilling to continue to spend it on a worthless service.  I don’t mind spending that sort of money if the service will work but ADSL in Palmerston doesn’t work.

I have just installed TransACT skydata and have not regretted the decision. I am sorry I have to cancel my account with Internode, they have been a big supporter and very good to deal with. It is wrong that one company has to loose customers and revenue because of the poor service provided by their wholesale provider.

For me the cost of Skydata is similar to the ADSL1 uncapped if compared directly and cheaper if you take line rental into consideration. I was paying $89.95 a month for ADSL1 uncapped (up to 8mb/s) with 25 Gigabytes download. Now I pay TransACT $55 dollars + $35 with an ISP for 20 Gigabytes (total) download. Once I cancel my Telstra landline and use TransACT I will not have to pay the $30 Telstra line rental so it works out cheaper. I understand if this is above many household budgets, which is why I am not going to stop pushing for a better result for all Gungahlin.

I can now download stuff at 10:00pm at night with no congestion (and 30 millisecond latency not 600 ms) and my VPN into work also stays connected. I strongly suggest people look into the technology and leave Telstra behind. The only issue people will have with the technology is that you need line of site to Oak Hill (behind Forde) and that will preclude many in the area.

The decision to use a different provider does not mean I will stop the campaign. I will not forget everyone who has contacted me just because I managed to find a better way. What I will be concentrating on is TransACT and the Fibre to the Home roll out in Gungahlin. The new suburbs like Harrison, Crace and Franklin will be getting FTTH as announced in late 2009. These fibre runs have to go past Nicholls, Palmerston and Amaroo to get to the new suburbs as they will be run from Forde.

My sights are firmly on TransACT to roll out FTTH for all suburbs in Gungahlin. I believe this is the best answer to the current problem as it is actually a possibility. Telstra are not going to change their mind and spend the money the closer the NBN gets. Telstra have not upgraded any existing RIM/CMUX in Gungahlin in 11 months and continue to deploy pair gain systems within a kilometer or two of an existing exchange.

This is one reason why I changed providers. I would rather spend money with a company who is willing to invest in the area. I will not continue to give dollars to Telstra who have done nothing but the bare minimim for 15 years.

TransACT have a non disclosure agreement with the NBN Co, they are running Fibre in the area and have the facilities in Forde to host the required services. There is a business case to increase the “sale” value of the TransACT assets to the NBN when the time comes to integrate. A roll out in Brownfields (existing) suburbs will increase the total number of users under FTTH and increase the value to the NBN. Finally the Territory government is still a major shareholder in TransACT and could use this relationship to address constituent’s issues in this area by working with TransACT.

I have come to the belief that Telstra will not fix any of the current ADSL issues where RIM/CMUX are involved. The fact Telstra will not give a resolution date even after 11 months indicates they are happy to ignore the area. Even if they announced upgrades tomorrow I estimate it would take over a year to upgrade all 70 odd RIM/CMUXs. With the NBN on its way it would appear that Telstra has decided that no advantage would be gained from upgrading facilities. If $50,000 was required to improve services through each RIM then the cost for 70 RIMs would be $3.5 million. With the NBN about to replace the copper network within the next 2-5 years Telstra would not get enough return on the investment. It doesn’t make commercial sense once I put myself in the shoes of an accountant.

Enough Telstra shareholders have told me “their money” shouldn’t be used to fix my problem. Last time I checked Palmerston, Nicholls, Amaroo and other areas were installed when Telstra was government owned and used my tax money to pay for these deployments. It is a pity Telstra decided not to do it properly in the first place, now they are a private company no one seems to have any influence over them to address the short comings in a service every Australian paid for, not just Telstra’s precious shareholders.

Anyway, the campaign will continue. I will try and influence an improvement in broadband services through new opportunities and channels. I will continue to push Politicians to fix the current service and try to accelerate a FTTH rollout in our area. I will push the  NBN to acknowledge Gungahlin as a disadvantage area for priority FTTH deployment and lobby TransACT to roll out services to existing suburbs.

I know this is a long post but it has been a while. As always feel free to contact me by email or leave a comment.