The Campaign Continues

January 27th, 2010 by Russell 18 comments »

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 by Russell 7 comments »

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

Caroline Le Couteur MLA reponds

November 28th, 2009 by Russell 2 comments »

Caroline Le Couteur, the Greens member for Molonglo and deputy chair of ACT Planning Committee has responded to the letter I sent last week.

The level of local support and representation of this issues how covers all major parties. Also great is Caroline’s commitment to representing the issues at the ACT Planning Committee at its next meeting.

Chris Taylor should be getting letters and inquiries from all sides of politics now. This local pressure might spark some response from him.

I do want to make one point. Many people have commented about the TransACT roll out of FTTP in Gungahlin. From what I can gather it is only greefields sites currently under development. It does not yet include existing suburbs affected by congestion and RIM/CMUX deployments. More on that later.

The response is listed below for you to read. It is the electronic version she emailed to me. I have received a signed copy.

GUNGAHLIN INTERNET – GILLON

Persistence Pays Off

November 25th, 2009 by Russell 2 comments »

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

Second Round of Letters to ACT Legislative Assembly

November 20th, 2009 by Russell 65 comments »

At around 4:45pm on Thursday 19th November I sent a second round of letters to the ACT Legislative Assembly Members for Molonglo. These letters were sent in an attempt rally more local support behind the issue prior to me going federal with the campaign.

My strategy at this point is to get all the local members passing the issue up to federal members at the same time as I write to the federal members. It is an attempt to present the issue as it really is…a community wide issue.

As Jon Stanhope’s office and Katy Gallagher did respond and forward Gungahlin’s concerns already, I did not send them a letter. They have done something and should get some credit for action where others have done very little.

I have attached all the letters below, they are all very similar except for the personalised third paragraph.

I have to admit the language in these letters is far more direct and challenging than the first letter sent in September. I will call members out who continue to show no interest in local matters. As I explain in my letter this is about the constituents and local business and there are a hell of a lot of us affected.

Senators Stephen Conroy, Garry Humphries, Kate Lundy are next as well as Bob McMullan.

2nd Letter MLA – Simon Corbell.pdf

2nd Letter MLA – Shane Rattenbury.pdf

2nd Letter MLA – Jeremy Hanson.pdf

2nd Letter MLA – Caroline Le Couteur.pdf

2nd Letter MLA – Andrew Barr.pdf

2nd Letter MLA – Zed Seselja.pdf

Why Do I Use Speedtest.net?

November 18th, 2009 by Russell 6 comments »

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.

Katy Gallagher Comes Good.

November 6th, 2009 by Russell 2 comments »

Earlier this week I recieved a letter from Katy Gallagher, Deputy Chief Minister regarding my correspondance.

To her credit Katy has read and responded to the requests I made in my original letter. She has represented my concerns to both Telstra and to Senator Conroy in writing.

I am very glad to see local representation on this issue. It also highlights the lack of response from the Greens and Liberal members of the Legisative Assembly.

Thank you Katy for your response and action.

To see Katy’s letter writen on behalf of the Chief Minister click the link below.

Katy Gallagher Response – 261009.pdf

Lack of Response from MLA

October 20th, 2009 by Russell 1 comment »

It has been nearly three weeks since I sent letters off to the current Legislative Assembly members for Molonglo.

Unfortunately I have only received 1 response.

I am drafting a second series of letters to the same members which I will send out next week. For any of the current members you still have a week to respond.

The one response I did get is best described as underwhelming at best. I can not even be sure Katy herself saw the letter. I have attached the response below for you all to read.

Response K Gallagher 070909.pdf

Maybe I have been taught a different definition for the term “representitive” but I have hoped that local members would have been more interested in the issues concerning their electorate.

This has inspired me to go a step further – I invite all Canberra residents who have contacted members of the Legislative Assembly, Federal Ministers or senior representivies of Internet service providers to send me a copy of your correspondence. I am going to dedicate a page on the site to all the letters, emails, faxes sent in an attempt to show how widespread the issue is.

If you have support ticket details please send them also.

I encourage everyone to send me information, even if you only raise a ticket 5 minutes before sending me the details.

The address – russell(at)actbroadband.net

Please remember to protect your personal details like address, phone number, ISP username.

My Issue Is Resolved?

October 20th, 2009 by Russell 1 comment »

Over the weekend I was contacted by Internode via email informing me of the resolution of the support ticket I raised on the 14th of October.

Apparently my issue has been resolved or maybe I needed to respond to some question or issue I wasn’t asked about.

Here is the email Intenode has sent informing me of the resolution. It is obviously a form letter or standard template.

From: Internode [mailto:nobody@mail.internode.com.au] On Behalf Of helpdesk@ticket.internode.com.au
Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2009 1:36 PM
To: russell@actbroadband.net
Subject: [ticket.internode.com.au #2229656] Resolved: Poor Internet Performance

Hi,

This message has been sent to you because we believe the ticket has been

resolved or we have not yet received a response to our earlier correspondence.

If you consider that further work or information is required, just reply to

this email. The information you provide will be added to the ticket and the

ticket re-opened for our staff to attend to.

We strive to provide excellent customer service. If you have any comments or

questions about the handling of this ticket, please feel free to contact

Feedback via our website at http://www.internode.on.net/contact/feedback/,

making note of the ticket number concerned within your message. Your feedback

will be read by senior Internode management, who value your comments.

Regards,

The Internode Team

________________________________________

Internode Technical Support

150 Grenfell St, Adelaide SA 5000

1300 788 233

Phone: (08) 8228-2999

Fax: (08) 8235-6999

Web: www.internode.on.net/support

Unfortunately I can not agree with their assertions that the issue is resolved or I have yet to respond to them concerning the issue. While the issue continues to affect me and other residents of the area I will try and keep this ticket and the others open.

Here is my response to the support email.

Dear Helpdesk at Internode,

Please move this ticket from resolved back to open status. This I ask for three reasons.

1, You have not been able to demonstrate or provide me with details to how the resolution was achieved, nor have you explained why you believe the issue is resolved. I will not allow you to close this ticket until you can provide me with such details.

2, I will demonstrate again that the issue still exists.

Tracing route to [12.129.242.22]

over a maximum of 30 hops:

1     2 ms     2 ms     3 ms  ppp59-167-63-146.lns1.cbr1.internode.on.net [59.167.63.146]

2   605 ms   613 ms   594 ms  lns1.cbr1.internode.on.net [203.16.215.192]

3   491 ms   424 ms   398 ms  gi1-0-0-3.cor3.cbr1.internode.on.net [150.101.160.6]

4   682 ms   650 ms   674 ms  pos2-1.bdr1.syd6.internode.on.net [150.101.160.110]

5   693 ms   733 ms   756 ms  pos5-0.bdr1.sjc2.internode.on.net [203.16.213.162]

6   813 ms  1021 ms   846 ms  ge-7-7.r02.snjsca04.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.11.97]

7   601 ms   635 ms   640 ms  ae-2.r20.snjsca04.us.bb.gin.ntt.net [129.250.3.225]

8   668 ms   778 ms   898 ms  192.205.33.177

9   727 ms   723 ms   785 ms  cr1.sffca.ip.att.net [12.122.114.18]

10   751 ms   691 ms   683 ms  cr1.la2ca.ip.att.net [12.122.3.122]

11   784 ms   859 ms   879 ms  gar4.la2ca.ip.att.net [12.122.128.169]

12   566 ms   542 ms   492 ms  12.122.255.70

^C

C:\Documents and Settings\user>date

The current date is: Mon 10/19/2009

Enter the new date: (mm-dd-yy)

C:\Documents and Settings\user>time

The current time is: 21:27:06.64

Enter the new time:

http://www.speedtest.net/result/596386603.png

Until my latency is stable and in line with ADSL services is neighboring suburbs (ie under 100ms to Internode POP) I will argue the issue remains.

3, I have not received an earlier correspondence from you other than acknowledging the congestion fault on my service still exists. I have not received an email or SMS concerning the status of the ongoing issue since August 8th, over 5 weeks ago. I raised another ticket as I had assumed Internode believed the issue solved which is to the contrary.

Please keep this ticket open. I will be in contact in the next week to inquire to its status and Internodes progress.

Thanks

Russell

I expect to hear from Internode again shortly. If you have an outstanding support ticket with your ISP please check it is still open, if it is not ask them to open it again.

Internode Support Response

October 14th, 2009 by Russell 8 comments »

At around 4:00pm Tuesday 13th October Internode Support replied to the ticket I raised on Monday the 12th.

The response was as expected and has not differed from any previous tickets raised about the issue.

The response provided by Internode is as follows.

From: Internode [mailto:nobody@mail.internode.com.au] On Behalf Of
helpdesk@ticket.internode.com.au
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 4:06 PM
To: russell@actbroadband.net
Subject: [ticket.internode.com.au #2229656] Poor Internet Performance

Hi Russell,

Thank you for your support request with Internode.

We sent an e-mail to your Internode e-mail address on Friday August 8th,
advising you that your service is part of a congestion fault which has been
reported to and confirmed by our wholesale provider.

We are actively seeking updates and pushing for a resolution, however at
this point, there are no updates.

We also have sent an sms message to the mobile number listed on your account
to advise you of updates, have you received this? If not, can you please
confirm your mobile number?

If you have any further questions regarding this matter, please reply to
this email or contact our Helpdesk by phone on 1300 788 233.

Kind regards,

Carmen
Customer Support Officer

___________________________________
Internode Technical Support Team
Phone: 1300 788 233 for all support
Fax: 08 8235 6911
Web: http://www.internode.on.net

I want to let Internode and others in Gungahlin know that I will not stop raising support tickets around this issue. Even though the response does take measures to remind me that updates will be provided each month it does not mean I will wait quietly.

I understand that this tactic can be frustrating for the Internode Service Desk but it is not as frustrating as the real issue of poor ADSL performance. I know I run the risk of becoming a serial pest but if everyone becomes apathetic about the issue, ISPs and Wholesale Providers will focus on another “squeaky wheel.”

I also want to highlight that Internode is still referring to the congestion issue as a “Fault.” I assume that the Wholesale Provider has used the term “fault” as part of its current report everything – do nothing strategy.

This goes against the General Manager of Telstra Country Wide, ACT – Chris Taylor who has publicly announced that “This is not a fault.” I have included the full quote below.

“The [congestion]issue will be around cost. This is not a fault. It is actually a case of, there are more users than the infrastructure or transmission will allow.”

Chris Taylor – ABC Radio 666 interview 30th September 2009.

There it is, from the horses mouth no less. Gungahlin is not worth spending the money on to provide adequate service.

As the ADSL infrastructure (CMUX) was installed less than 5 years ago, and in many cases only within the last 2 years it would appear that Gungahlin has NEVER been an area Telstra Country Wide has deemed worthy of investment.

Might I remind you Chris Taylor, you own and manage the infrastructure causing the congestion issue. Your assertion that the public Internet is to blame is just not correct. To quote your own words:

“That’s a standard thing with the public Internet.”

Chris Taylor – ABC Radio 666 interview 30th September 2009.

The reality is different to your statement in my particular case. If the congestion I experience is due to the public Internet everyone would be affected.

People in Hackett using the same ISP are routed to the same Point of Presence (POP) as I am and therefore access the public Internet from the same point as I do.

Why are they not affected?

They are not, the question was rhetorical. The issue is occurring between the residence and the POP. The only difference between Hackett and Palmerston when accessing the Internet is the Telstra managed “last mile” infrastructure.

I can prove the congestion occurs between my house and the Internode Point of Presence in the ACT. This is prior to being “on the Internet.” The congestion occurs on the infrastructure Telstra Country Wide owns and resells for a fee.

I can demonstrate over three months where this has occurred. I have published reports at http://www.actbroadband.net/the-reports/ that show the congestion exists before traffic arrives at Internode infrastructure which is prior to hitting the public Internet.

Users like myself pay for the privilege to use this infrastructure. Regardless of wholesale or direct sales the issue is still Telstra’s responsibility to address.

I urge you to find the money, you must have had a number of opportunities to request budget to address this issue in the last 9 months. Please do not let another opportunity go by without addressing our concerns.