Archive for the ‘News’ category

The NBN is Live in Gungahlin

February 1st, 2013

Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for many of the residents of Gungahlin and at the same time, closes a chapter in my life. With great fanfare Senator Conroy, Senator Lundy and Mike Quigley officially turned of the NBN in the ACT today, 1st Feburary 2013.

Also in attendance was Andrew Leigh MP, Andrew Barr representing the MLA, Japan’s Diplomat to Australia, Peter Elford and others from the Gungahlin Community council. Representitives from the contractors performing the cabling were on hand as well as from the ANU and many other industry representatives. The event was held in the Gungahlin Library to a packed house and filled with media.

The event was opened by Peter Elford from the GCC and a traditional welcome from an elder of the Ngunnawal people was given. At this point a Big Red Button became the focus as a number of VIP’s officially “switched on” the NBN. As part of this ceremonial gesture Paige Murry, a student from Harrison Public school was given the honor of standing beside the politicians and NBN representatives during the big button press.

NBN Button

A live demonstration of the NBN capability commenced with a live high definition video conference session setup between a group of Harrison School students and students in a classroom in Japan. The demonstration went without a hitch and saw Harrison Students speaking Japanese and students in Japan speaking back in English. Although many of the students on both sides were obviously nervous the demonstration showed the possibilities of greater learning experiences which are definitely not possible with the existing telecommunications services in the area.

Speeches were made and people were thanked but there was a number things said that I wanted to convey to the rest of the ACT.

The NBN Co. wants everyone to know;

 

  1. Gungahlin roll-out is on track with hundreds of houses and businesses connected to the NBN in Gungahlin already.
  2. The NBN is still on track to deliver the NBN to all the ACT over the next three years.
  3. The NBN has already started works in Civic.

Senator Stephen Conroy wants people to be aware of the additional information and services available at the Gungahlin Library. A Digital Hub has been set up to show case what the NBN can deliver to Australians and provide education and promote greater online participation. Information on the Digital Hub can be found here and is worth a visit.

I wanted to thank a few people for their support over the last 4 years. I would like to thank the residents of Gungahlin for maintaining their interest in this issue and resisting the piecemeal approach providers have taken in this area. I would like to thank the Gungahlin Community Council for running with the issue for so long and being the interface between the NBN and the community. I would like to thank various members of the NBN Co. who sent representatives to my house to discuss the issues in the area. Finally I would like to thank Senator Kate Lundy who has been dealing with phone and broadband issues in Gungahlin for the longest time. Senator Lundy took time to meet with me and listen to my view, she represented our concerns to the NBN Co and Senator Conroy and was a great advocate for our area. Regardless of your feelings about politics in general, any representative who listens, supports and represents you should be acknowledged. Thank you Kate Lundy

So, with the NBN now “Live” in Gungahlin and the cable contractor pulling green fibre cabling through conduits only 100 meters from my house, this campaign looks to be at an end. We as a community have succeeded in bringing change. From my perspective this is a major victory and one I was proud to be a part of.

Thank you to everyone who has provided me or the cause support over the past 4 years and remember to SIGN UP.

Kate Lundy’s Joint Media Release about the NBN Switch on

Andrew Barr Twitter photo of Senators Conroy and Lundy and myself pressing the big button

NBN Blog – Canberra connected to NBN

 

 

More Coverage on Gungahlin Broadband Issues

March 19th, 2010

After Kate Lundy’s press release and the release of the interview three major news and industry sites/radio stations covered the issue.

2CC Radio Canberra rang me for an off air interview which was incorporated into the hourly news bulletin Friday 12th of March 2010. This included quotes off the press release and a sound byte from me.

ITNews.com.au ran a story on its website which quoted both the press release and posts I had made on this site. The news article can be seen on at www.itnews.com.au under the NBN category. You can read it here.

The third place the my campaign was posted was the National Broadband Network News and Information website. The article posted here used both press release and this website as source material. You can read the article here.

I am working on a submission to Senator Lundy and Senator Conroy as well as other things. This coverage has provided renewed interest in the campaign and I will take what advantage I can to keep the issue in peoples minds.

Discussion still continues on Whirlpool forums over the congestion issue with one post in particular still receiving updates 12 months after the original post. I recommend reading and contributing to the discussions as many industry representitives participate as well as the general public. The Whirlpool Forums post can be seen here.

I will post more when it happens, I don’t expect that to be long.

Focus Back on NBN

March 11th, 2010

A number of events have come together in recent days to bring the telecommunications debate back at a federal and local level. The NBN seems to be back on the agenda for Senate debate with the imminent release of the NBN implementation study and debate on the new draft telecommunications bills to be held over the coming months .

On the local front Senator Kate Lundy has published a Media Release and part of an interview she recorded with me during a meeting we had at my home. I took the opportunity to raise my concerns with broadband performance in Gungahlin with a hope she may help raise the profile of the issues we face. Senator Lundy has a long history dealing with broadband issues in Canberra and the release of the video interview and Media Release could bring national focus to our broadband issues.

The Media Release, titled NBN urgently needed in Gungahlin was released today by Senator Lundy’s office and goes to the heart of one of my objectives with this campaign – fix broadband services in Gungahlin. If Telstra continue to ignore existing complaints about performance then trying to bring an alternative to Gungahlin is the only other option. The NBN is the prime candidate for such an alternative and my conversations with Senator Lundy have revolved around bringing the NBN to Gungahlin as fast as possible.

I am still working to have TransACT expand their current Fibre roll out to include existing suburbs. I have been working on a submission to send to their board in an attempt to convince TransACT to do “brownfields” rollouts.

The full interview is being worked on and will be released shortly. In the full interview I talk about the problems faced by Gungahlin residents with the current copper network and the impacts of what I understand the technology constraints to be. I hope this issue gets greater coverage and the interview and Media Release helps to bring a result for our community.

Two draft bills have been released and I encourage people to review them and comment. I have participated in these in the past and will be making a submission on both of these bill as listed on the DBCDE website. Comments close 15th of March.

You can see the Video here

You can read the Media Release here

Feel free to comment or contact me via email and thanks again for all the support and feedback.

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.

Stephen Conroy Response

December 8th, 2009

Katy Gallagher has forwarded on to me the response she received from the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy.

In her response to my earlier letter Katy had informed me she had forwarded the matter to Senator Conroy on my behalf. I thank Katy for sending me the response.

The letter is as I had anticipated any response from the minister, part form letter and part sales pitch on the NBN. In the letter Senator Conroy does have a few interesting things to say. He speaks of not having the ability to deal with an issue concerning Broadband which may interfere with day to day operations of a public company.

While I concede the point Governments can’t directly influence public companies it is difficult to understand how little governance actually exists when it comes to these matters. It would appear that Internode, the ACT Legislative Assembly and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy have no influence on the problem….so who does?

Where would we stand if this was a matter for the Minister for Health? If a medical procedure at Calvary Hospital cost the same as in the hospital at Woden but Calvary gave you only half the treatment, would you have a case? I guarantee there would be all sorts of governance, reviews and backlash over that.

Here in Gungahlin Telstra can put in the lowest cost solution and charge higher rates to consumers. Here we get a substandard service on technology which limits competition. In Gungahlin we get to pay for poor decisions made by Telstra when they were a fully Government owned institution and used tax payers money build a network. We have little to no recourse if Telstra refuse to upgrade Gungahlin due to cost.

Now I have to watch TransACT roll out Fibre past my suburb to a Greenfield site with very little hope of seeing anything equivalent within the next 5 years. Maybe it is time to change focus, maybe it is time to appeal to TransACT to do “brownfield” roll outs in Gungahlin.

To see the response from Senator Conroy check the link out below.

Stephen Conroy Response.pdf

Persistence Pays Off

November 25th, 2009

It would appear that my mother was right all along, persistence does pay off. I received two responses from local members of the Legislative Assembly today, one from Zed Seselja and the other from Andrew Barr.

I am glad our local members are starting to take notice of the issues in Gungahlin, even if I had to use some provocative language to get a response.

I am pleased to see that Zed has taken steps to investigate the issue with Telstra and has assured me that he will let me know of the outcome. Having both Jon Stanhope’s office and the leader of the opposition both involved should start to send a message to Telstra.

Andrew Barr’s response entails forwarding the issue to the Chief Minister’s office but I still hope Andrew will write to Telstra as well.

The Greens are still to respond to either of my letters but it is still early days. I do expect a response from them, and look forward to working with all members of the Legislative Assembly to fix this issue.

I have attached both responses below and hope to receive more soon.

Andrew Barr – Response.pdf

Zed Seselja – Response.pdf

Why Do I Use Speedtest.net?

November 18th, 2009

A few people have remarked on how much I rely on tests like www.speedtest.net.

There are many reasons why I like using speed tests, for one it helps quantify the issues being experienced in Gungahlin in a repeatable and standardised way. It is hard for many users to describe how poor the user experience actually is in Gungahlin. In many cases the users’ concerns are dismissed because they can not be articulated in a context that has meaning.

I have to admit that I used the speed test site to determine point in time upload and download speeds only. After doing the test I tweeted earlier tonight I had a look around the site a bit more and found a nugget of gold.

Speed Comparison 18Nov09

The scary thing is the actual results in the image above. If you wanted independant verification of your speeds against the average for the country then it is right there. Unfortunately Internode has changed IP address schemes in Canberra and the online databases have not managed to update yet. This means the IP address for my connection is still registered as being in Queensland and not in the ACT. That will update in time.

Doing these speed tests adds to a global database of informaiton gathered by others using the service. By doing a test your results are contributing to a resource others will gain benefit from.

How much more does one need to say about Gungahlin Broadband after looking at the graph? Not much, not much at all.

Another Dismal Night

October 13th, 2009

Last night the 12th October 2009 was another dismal night for Broadband performance in Gungahlin. It was so bad I registered another support call with Internode.

ticket.internode.com.au #2229656

I would like to register another complaint concerning the poor internet performance experienced on my connection.

I have 2 existing tickets raised about this issue:
#1910774
#2080837

Here is some information supporting the latest performance issues.

http://www.speedtest.net/result/589839173.png
http://www.speedtest.net/result/589826993.png

This was 100 pings sent to lns1.cbr1.internode.on.net the first hop at the
Internode POP in the ACT.

Ping statistics for 203.16.215.192:
Packets: Sent = 100, Received = 88, Lost = 12 (12% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 483ms, Maximum = 1074ms, Average = 678ms

C:>date
The current date is: Mon 10/12/2009
Enter the new date: (mm-dd-yy)

C:>time
The current time is: 23:06:11.57
Enter the new time:

Tracing route to [12.129.242.22]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1     3 ms     5 ms     4 ms  ppp59-167-63-XXX.lns1.cbr1.internode.on.net[59.167.63.XXX]
2   653 ms   712 ms   704 ms  lns1.cbr1.internode.on.net [203.16.215.192]
3   636 ms   701 ms     *     gi1-0-0-3.cor3.cbr1.internode.on.net[150.101.160.6]
4   650 ms   595 ms   688 ms  pos2-1.bdr1.syd6.internode.on.net[150.101.160.110]
5   868 ms   754 ms   663 ms  pos5-0.bdr1.sjc2.internode.on.net[203.16.213.162]
6   675 ms   720 ms   774 ms  ge-7-7.r02.snjsca04.us.bb.gin.ntt.net[129.250.11.97]
7   867 ms   794 ms   724 ms  ae-2.r20.snjsca04.us.bb.gin.ntt.net[129.250.3.225]
8   713 ms   645 ms   724 ms  192.205.33.177
9   779 ms   840 ms   865 ms  cr1.sffca.ip.att.net [12.122.114.18]
10   705 ms   693 ms   695 ms  cr1.la2ca.ip.att.net [12.122.3.122]
11  ^C

I have documented the history around this issue at
http://www.actbroadband.net as well as @ACT_Broadband on twitter.

Please escalate this issue “again” as it has existed for over 8 months with
no improvement.


Ticket created by the Internode Contact Form
http://www.internode.on.net/contact/online/
No virus found in this incoming message.

The latency across the Wholesale provider’s infrastructure averaged over 670 milliseconds and packet loss was over 10% for the evening.

As well as these poor results the download and upload speeds experienced was 0.1 Megabit per second. Thats is virtually dial up speeds (56 Kilobit per second) or about 12 kilobytes per second written to disk.

Just to put this in perspective – at these speeds it would take 1 mintue and 25 seconds to download 1 Megabyte of data.

To download the same amount of data to fill a 1.44MB floppy (remember those) it would take 2 minutes and 3 seconds approximately.

If you are sceptical of my claims here are two speed tests done nearly 20 mins apart. They are in the support ticket I sent to Internode last night and were also posted on twitter.

http://www.speedtest.net/result/589839173.png
http://www.speedtest.net/result/589826993.png

ABC Radio Canberra Interview

September 30th, 2009

Earlier today I was invited by ABC Radio Canberra’s Afternoons program to be interviewed by Genevieve Jacobs concerning Broadband in Gungahlin. The invitation came from interest in my post on The-RiotACT.com and the content of this site. The interviews occured at 1:15pm th 30th September 2009 and finished at 1:32pm.

Genevieve also invited Allan Kerlin from the Gungahlin Community Council; David Forman from the Competitive Carrier’s Coalition; and Chris Taylor, Managing Director for Telstra Country Wide ACT.

I have to confess I was quite nervous, I did not expect to be on the radio when I got out of bed this morning.

The issue sparked numerous SMS and phone calls to the ABC radio station, many of which were commented on air after the interviews were finished.

ABC Radio have assured me they will make a transcript available which I will post on this site (if permitted).

I would like to thank the ABC for the opportunity to put my issues to such a wide audience.

The Word is Out

September 29th, 2009

Two important events have occurred in the last 72 hours that have brought significant attention to my site.

Posts on Whirlpool Broadband forums about this site were made late Sunday afternoon 27th September 2009 by the user Beastboy. The reference to this site was posted under an existing thread discussing Crace exchange in the Internode discussion area. The actual post and subsequent discussion can be seen here – Whirlpool Forum Discussion – Crace/ACT backhaul/congestion issue

The second event of significance occurred this evening when the post I made on The RiotACT website was made “Featured Post.” The RiotACT website is an important web resource for the ACT region and is used by numerous organisations and residents to discuss local events, issues and even burgers. The full post I made on The RiotACT can be seen here – Gungahlin’s Frustrations with the Internet

I would like to thank The RiotACT for seeing this issue as worthy of such focus.

I will update each of these posts with comments and forum replies as things progress so keep an eye out.