The Community Voices its Opinion

July 15th, 2010 by Russell Leave a reply »

Last night, Wednesday the 14th of July was not a comfortable night to be traveling. It was raining and blowing a gale yet 70 concerned residents turned out to confront Telstra representatives concerning years of broadband issues.

The Gungahlin Community Council meeting attracted a wide cross section of the community. I was glad to see Shane Rattenbury (MLA Greens) and Caroline Le Couteur (MLA Greens) at the meeting. I had written to each of them during my campaign and I was glad to see their interest in this issue continues. I was also glad to see Pia Waugh from Senator Kate Lundy’s office was also able to attend and took a copy of my submission on behalf of Senator Lundy. I was also pleased to see David Mathews at the meeting. David ran for election to the Legislative Assembly for the seat of Molonglo for the Labor party at the last election.

The meeting was split into two sections with the speakers taking up the first half of the night and general questions following. I stood up and spoke first for a few minutes. It was my intention to frame the meeting by describing the issues faced by Gungahlin over the past 15 years. It was important for me to make sure everyone at the meeting understood the magnitude of each broken promise made.

I also took 4 of the most commonly asked questions sent to me prior to the meeting which I asked Telstra to address.

  1. Why did it take 18 months to address the congestion issues?
  2. Do you believe making Gungahlin wait 18 months was acceptable?
  3. What are you doing to ensure this does not happen again?
  4. Why should we trust you?

Chris Taylor followed and spent a significant period of the night explaining Telstra’s position, what they have done and the future of the service. Chris Taylor, to his credit gave an honest account of Telstra’s actions and provided information about the service and Telstra’s activities leading up to the meeting.

The third and final speaker was David Forman from the Competitive Carriers Coalition. Mr Forman provided a perspective of the Broadband issues from the non-dominant ISPs who are in competition with Telstra and Optus.

In my opinion that both David Forman and Chris Taylor’s talk provided a good balance with each party allowed to put forward their perspective. My intention was to put into people’s minds the reality of poor broadband and telecommunications. I wanted to remind people of the hardships the community faced while they listen to the other speakers. Ultimately I was there to hear from Telstra and get outcomes, I wanted Telstra to do the majority of the talking.

Once the floor was opened to questions a number of residents made their feelings known. Many of the community who attended made sure they got their point across. I was glad that people got to take their issue straight to Telstra and I was pleased to see that Chris took details after the meeting. The expectation has been set by Telstra that something will be done. I hope it gets followed up.

I provided Chris Taylor with 60 odd pages during my talk. This consisted of letters I sent to the MLA, Federal Ministers and others. It also included reports I have generated and posted on this site as well as other speed test results and trace routes. I also included a handful of stories sent to me by people in Gungahlin. These stories detailed some residents experiences and how it affected their lives. I asked these people’s permission before I included them and nearly everyone I asked were happy to oblige. This campaign is about the representing the community and I felt it was important to include some of these stories.

I encourage you to visit the GCC website and view the video when it is released (if your connection is up to it).



  1. Alan Kerlin says:

    Thanks for your account of the meeting Russ. It was a great regret for me to miss this portage meeting after all the work pushing this issue. But Chris Taylor’s rescheduling from our June meeting meant a clash with a prearranged holiday.

    I was very disappointed to hear that Chris continued to push the “case by case” line for refunds of fees paid for shaped services that were caused by Telstras poor infrastructure. I think this is a clear avoidance mechanism as it will require each person to lodge a complaint. This means we’ll have to do more work to make people aware of how to do this in order to get a refund. But one thing is for sure, if Telstra are going to cause us this extra work, we will cause them some more pain along the way!

  2. Greg Wells says:

    Thanks Russ,
    Unfortunatly, I wasn’t able to attend as I had urgent family committments, but I really appreciate your summary.

    Rather than ask for the details on refunds etx, I will wait until the GCC website has the details up and go from there.


  3. Rauland says:

    Hopefully this teaches Telstra a lesson, and they will start to fix other areas around Australia. Like my own suburb Lovely Banks VIC.

  4. Nick says:

    Thank for all your work Russell, im just wondering if the congestion at the crace exchange would extend to other providers DSLAMs within the exchange (i’m on node with a copper pair running all the way to exchange but still have horrendous latency which I had put down to being in canberra but having read the info on this site am now assuming that its due to exchange congestion!)

  5. Paul F says:

    Hey Russell, better get your game face on because I think the “fix” Telstra gave us back in July is falling apart.

    Its getting talked about in the Whirlpool forums.