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Telstra’s Broadband Disgrace

By knoobs 18 January 2008 71

In an era where fast broadband Internet is becoming widely accessible across not only OECD nations but also the developing world, the dismal state of Telstra’s ADSL broadband service right here in Canberra has become infuriatingly apparent through my experience with them in the past few weeks.

Having finished construction of our new home in the new suburb of Wells Station, Harrison, Telstra assured us that our Bigpond broadband connection would continue in our new home as the local, Crace exchange was ADSL enabled and connection ports were readily available. Telstra even delivered a package containing the necessary hardware. Yet only days later we received a text message rather severely stating that our application had been “rejected” – as though Telstra felt it needed to pass a judgement on my character.  They didn’t bother to provide any further explanation.

The government, as well as Telstra, have touted the expansion of broadband countrywide yet when broadband isn’t even available in the developing suburbs of the nation’s capital, what hope is there for those in regional areas.

When we inquired further about our connection, Telstra customer service cheerily informed us that broadband was, in fact, available and that we would be connected shortly. Once again, days later, we were notified that this application was also “rejected”. Five times we have been subjected to this pretence. Talking to neighbours and others living in Gungahlin it became clear we were not the only victims of Telstra’s arrogant charades. We have tried several times to contact Telstra Countrywide (and Ian Peters, the Area General Manager) – the man whose image and number is plastered on every Telstra van roaming Canberra – and not a single call has yet been answered.

The worst part is that we have no choice – TransAct does not provide any services here and all other Internet providers have to go through Telstra’s exchange. Telstra’s monopoly of broadband is turning Australia into an Internet backwater, stifling innovation and trade. I sincerely believe it is the greatest obstacle facing Australia’s development in this modern, technology dependent era. Telstra, if you can’t even provide the most basic of services, get out of the way and let others do so.

Is anyone else having issues with getting broadband in Canberra and in the same situation? Is it an issue limited to us Neanderthals living on the north side?  

Maybe if we can raise awareness of this issue, we can get Telstra to actually do something about this. I know, I know…but it’s worth a try.

What’s Your opinion?

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71 Responses to
Telstra’s Broadband Disgrace
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Shtoive 3:30 pm 23 Jul 08

No no, its still not connected.
I wrote a letter to both Federal (McMullan) and Local (Some new kid) and I received confirmation responses and that is about it.
I was questioning why is Gungahlin unable to receive ADSL2, and who is responsible for establishing it.

Turns out as I dig this hole deeper, no one is.
Seriously, we are better off running fibre ourselves.

What a disgrace.
This service should be treated the same as Gas, Electricity, and Phones – Like most other developed western nations.
I would be furious if I payed this ridicules sum of money for a house in Gungahlin to find that this basic service can’t even be supplied, yet alone trying to establish a well structured IT business/company/government department.
“Nations Capital” – pfft, most country towns have better services.

Mælinar 4:48 pm 08 Feb 08

I was interested to hear that now Labour is in, Telstra magically found the switch to allow 900 ADSL2+ networks across the country.

Funny, magic switches, and all that.

Skidbladnir 4:46 pm 08 Feb 08

Actual working link:
The Hon Bruce Billson

Mr Evil 4:45 pm 08 Feb 08

“It’s McMullan, what do you expect?

……..Come on, someone voted for him, why?”

Because he looks like the little bald man off Benny Hill?

Skidbladnir 4:39 pm 08 Feb 08

Encouraging the new Govt to act like a Govt rather than gloating triumphal victor, and the new Oppositions to stop acting like policy spokesmen would be nice, ans should be a national sport.

(Be sure to include any supporting documentation or responses from now-sitting government members, and highlight them or draw attention to them in writing, so your chosen recipient has to do as little prep as possible before playing Parliamentary Name and Shame 2008).

caf 4:35 pm 08 Feb 08

What response did you expect? “Bob has picked up the shovel and roll of fibre optic and will be around to your place directly” ??

B. Thompson, you have it wrong about the ADSL2+ situation. Previously, Telstra only chose to installed ADSL2+ DSLAMS in locations where a competitor also had such equipment, because they were worried that if they were the only ones at a site then they would be forced to allow competitors access to their DSLAMs. Telstra wanted their competitors to install their own DSLAMs rather than free-ride on Telstra’s risk. What has changed is that Telstra has been given an assurance that they can keep their DSLAMs to themselves, and competitors will need to install their own. Telstra already has to allow competitors to install equipment at their exchanges.

Skidbladnir 4:24 pm 08 Feb 08

Unless you get a followup asking for clarification or further information (in which case someone is going likely to be asking Questions on your behalf), you’re being given the “Piss Off, I’m not being paid enough to deal with you” (or “I’m being am happy with my place in the party\paid enough\too much by Other Interested Groups specifically not to deal with questions like this”).

If you want to take it to the top:
Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
The Hon Bruce Billson MP, (Member for Dunkley)

Or try getting Senator Gazza on the case.

hingo 4:15 pm 08 Feb 08

He is aware of the problems – recognises that these problems are way out of his league, so he has placed it in the ‘too hard basket’. Bob McMullan, you are a bloody joke.

Thumper 4:11 pm 08 Feb 08

It’s McMullan, what do you expect?

I’ve received equally dismissive letters back from his staff.

Does this bloke actually do anything for the ACT?

Come on, someone voted for him, why?

Ralph 3:57 pm 08 Feb 08

Disgraceful response from McMullan. In other words, piss off.

B.Thomson 3:52 pm 08 Feb 08

Here is my response from Bob McMullan, who I also forwarded it to after I thought he might want to know.
Dear Mr Thomson

Thank you for your email dated 22 January 2008 to Mr Bob McMullan MP, Member for Fraser.

Mr McMullan appreciates you taking the time to write to him. He is well aware of the broadband internet issues in Gungahlin and is working with his Parliamentary colleagues to have the problems resolved.


Office of Bob McMullan MP
Federal Member for Fraser
My question is – what exactly is he aware of? Is he aware that Telstra are locking third party companies out of their exchanges? Is he aware that there is a number range assignment in Gunghalin that is causing us to misreport as being in Crace? Or is he just aware that ‘there is something wrong with the net’ in Gunghalin.

My hopes are certainly dashed when I saw that Telstra was given the all clear to open up ADSL2 in a lot of exchanges the other day. It appears this government has no concern for the public and instead wants to cosy up to Telstra so they can award them the 8 billion grant to make a fibre network. As if it isn’t bad enough that they own all the copper I am now almost certain that the government is going to hand them the fibre contract as well.

My reasoning is simple – why have all the main media outlets managed to completely mistake the real events that have occured, getting it backwards no less.

Basically, Telstra has been pushing for years to open up ADSL2 in a heap of exchanges where competitors don’t currently have equipment. They were only allowed to offer ADSL2 if someone else did as well. We have all seen how that worked with Gungahlin – Telstra refused to let others in to the building, and also hid the fact that the building even existed.

Now the previous government quite rightly told Telstra they couldn’t open exchanges to ADSL2 without also allowing competitors wholesale access also.

Now this government has done an amazingly stupid thing and given Telstra a green light to not only open up these exchanges, but to legitimately refuse competitors access!!! This makes absolutely no sense at all.

What I find disturbing is that all the main news article have been praising Telstra for turning on the exchanges. Not only that they even go so far as to say things like “Telstra ‘loses game of chicken’ on ADSL2+ rollout” – implying that they have now been forced to open these exchanges. Or even better “Telstra opens floodgates on massive ADSL2+ upgrade”. “Telstra clears way for ADSL2 rollout” etc.

Why would everyone have the facts so very wrong? Why is it that only the 3rd party ISP’s have been crying out in terror. Then when they do, this is the kind of headline they get. “Telstra rival cries to ACCC over ADSL2+”.

Of course, is no source for proper investigative reporting. But come on… where is the government going with this.

Luckily I’m not the only one who can see the writing on the wall –

I was starting to feel a bit like Mel Gibson in conspiracy theory.

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