The Beagle Editor,
It was certainly disappointing to hear via our 'Unstoppable Beagle Magazine', that the old side of Tuross Head and Coila, will not be receiving the luxury of fibre to the house as with the rest of Tuross Head. We are all being forced to use their antiquated (documented), deteriorating copper lines from a fibre node and it just adds salt to our wounds. These old copper Telstra lines needed replacing years ago.
Telstra have done nothing but show they are a commercial enterprise, of making money and spending as little as possible.
The Old Side of Tuross and Coila has continually and for decades, put up with the poor quality of internet speed and quality of landlines via the Telstra Network. The NBN requires high quality fibre optic lines to produce the speed to deliver this to the end consumer. Not 40 year plus old copper that are still deteriorating in the ground as confirmed by numerous visiting Telstra technicians past and present.
Thinking that the NBN rollout would finally fix our ailing problems, that should have been that but it wasn't to be. The NBN blowout occurred, somebody else's stuff up in Costing and Estimating somewhere along the line but we are truly paying for it.
Is it purely out of economics that we are only seeing partial fibre to the house by NBN when the rest in our area will be only getting fibre to a node? Might sound fair to some but not for us. Our brothers and sisters in capital and major cities are enjoying the luxury of fibre to the house and certainly our new ongoing charges from the new NBN providers won't be cheaper because of our downgrade in service. Its our lines and switchboard that simply, just need replacing and or updating.
We are personally in the midst of months of battle with Telstra ourselves yet again via the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, for continuing faulty phone lines and super slow internet.
You see the present main Tuross Switchboard, in layman terms, is comprised of pods, with so many copper lines connected to each of them. If you report a fault in the line or with your internet speed, they start their initial diagnostics from overseas operators and if they can't find a fault in the streets or the exchange, via perhaps Manila in the Phillipines, they action a local Telstra technician to test. They either fix the switch/street fault or their only other solution is to pull your plug and put it into another pod that's not congested just a temporary quick fix. They have always had an unsatisfactory number of pods for a decade or more and even though we have been verbally promised upgrades, economics have still dictated the number to be always totally insufficient to supply our every day phone and internet requirements increasing demand. Let alone when our very needed, tripling tourist population numbers arrive.
We have been told it's "Congestion" of the lines by technicians and or phone operators, with no resolution after that. At one time a Telstra operator, after a very heated discussion, had the gaul to suggest to us that if we weren't happy with their service, then perhaps we should look elsewhere. Well you'd have to be a raving idiot not to know that Telstra then owned all the lines and equipment that other Service Providers lease but I suppose, if you live 1000's of kilometres away you could be forgiven for that.
We personally aren't placed geographically in a good position either, as we are over 2.7 klms away from the local exchange switch in Tuross.
Might not seem that bad to anyone, so why are we complaining? Well in real terms, as documented by Telstra technicians and staff as well, they have been sending anywhere from 11Mbps-20 Mbps down our line from an already shared pod for a long time. By the time it gets to us, we're are recording by ourselves and by professional Speedtest, 6-7 Mbps because of distance and poor quality lines at its very best. Telstra now finally admit that we aren't receiving their 11 Mbps Plus sent out from the exchange for years but more around the 6-7 Mbps mark.
What they don't seem to understand is that when they send their technicians come out to the house to test during work hours, the majority of other internet consumers are either at school or work. So of course they get the better reading, as we do at that time of 6-7 Mbps. What we can't quite get through to them is that when kids come home from school, parents go on line after work, our speed starts dropping drastically to a point where if you want to stream a movie, it either buffers (pauses) or the line drops out totally. You then have to go back in and frustratingly reload your movie, Utube or webpage you were browsing. There are many times we just turn the TV off and give up in frustration. It doesn't require many people on line at all to make this speed slow down. We can often record anything from 0 to 3-4Mbps signal strength and a lot of times we have error messages come up saying we cannot connect to the server and it has totally dropped out.
Switching to another pod in the switchbox sometimes does seem to work for a short time but alas, always short lived. The reason, which had been confirmed by past Telstra technicians, is that if somebody complains loud enough, their line is pulled and put onto a less congested pod (which may be ours). So the vicious cycle starts once again. It's a bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Our Telstra technicians say we need upgrading and the lines replaced but say it will never happen. Telstra administration seem to refuse to accept their own tech' statements and responsibilities.
So what happens when our very much needed tourist population arrives....well, this is what our present Telecommunication Ombudsman assault is about too. Not just for ourselves but everybody else affected. We were getting extremely poor readings and we were that tired of getting a quick fix result and the continual battle with Telstra, that in the past we physically gave up trying.
To give anybody interested an idea in what we putting up with, we have logged with the T.I.O, not just our super slow internet speed and buffering but a diagnosed fault which had to be technician repaired in neighbouring streets. Even after fixing this problem, on a Sunday night alone, we not only recorded seven total line internet dropouts not just buffering but total internet loss and our phone line was disconnected for a total of 5 hours.
After two hours of painful retesting on Monday after reporting the fault, the resetting of our equipment and all our lines at home, they diagnosed yet another fault somewhere externally and we now have to wait for yet another technician visit booked to again physically check our lines etc and repair. It is a never ending circle of frustrating hair pulling (probably why I have none), with a no resolution situation and they wonder why we don't want to come out and play anymore.
On a recent Wednesday night, after a call from our Telstra Case Manager, I suggested the case stay open, asked not to close our case because of past problems encountered. The same problems were happening as lines were buffering mid morning that day in our quiet time. I asked for a two week closure because the new lines never stay stable, as it was evident that day with the buffering experience and he said he would be calling on a certain date to finalise and it wasn't until I looked at it after the call, I realised it was in 2 days time, not two weeks.
They are given a time limit and date to resolve issues by the TIO and as it had already past, they were pushing for it to close saying I could always open it again if I wasn't satisfied. Roy the Phillipino started insisting that they were currently sending 10 Mbps at that specific time, he had just checked it. I said that's absolutely ludicrous, we instantly conducted yet another speed test while he was on line, with results of less than half of that. His only offer was to send out yet another technician and offered their 'Platinum Package' as a bonus, so I said enough's enough, you obviously think you have done all you can at present, I don't think this is going to be resolved, I really don't need to discuss this anymore, I will leave it with the T.I.O. and said goodnight.
I was then bombarded with emails suggesting I'm being uncooperative, refusing additional assistance, even an inference of us suggesting we are refusing to pay our account on this same issue and the discussion of that hadn't even occurred.
They forwarded a copy of that to the TIO and I feel it's simply just to blacken us in our fight for a proper service and to justify all they can.
In recent weeks we have reported both our phone lines out of action and requiring technicians to come and investigate again. Finally after a full day of line testing, the tech discovered more major irregularities in our line.
Each phone number requires two individual lines from the exchange, we have two phone lines, so we need four. Sounds simple enough but they only feed an 8 core shared line (8 lines within) to us. Now this is a shared line so it can only feed 4 phone numbers of which we have 2 phone numbers, so we really need 4 of the lines. Alas, we know of at least six shared residential blocks on our line. This explains the line sharing and abusive crossed calls we have received.
To make things even worse, two years ago the phone line was dug up houses away and a new section of the existing, multi shared line was replaced.
Recently, with an extensive full day of pod upgrades at the switch, point changing in our house, the upgrade of our modem and testing between individual houses and their speeds between, our tech made another major discovery. He discovered the replaced section was only 4 core. So it goes 8 core (multi shared and an unknown quantity of users) to 4 core to eight core and then to us. Doesn't take Einstein to work out we are being well and truly diddled, does it?
Other NBN service providers are offering packages of up to 40 Mbps speeds between 6-7pm in peak time. My question is, how is it possible we will see anything like this when Telstra can only send a very unstable 6-7Mbps to us now on these same old copper lines in off peak times. We will be paying a premium as well for the download amount, with no or little speed and it could be anyone's guess as to what that's going to be. What will happen with software requirements increasing yearly without these line improvements.
What people must realise is that we are no longer locked into Telstra either, the lines belong to NBN now and Telstra are only another service provider. There are certainly better deals out there if you go up onto comparison Websites and there are plenty of them. At present Telstra are luring early signing with them and they will give you a free Telstra TV Box ( similar to Apple TV), if you sign in Tuross before the end of March, 3 months before the launch and lock you in under a two year contract.
To stay with old antiquated copper lines, is not just ridiculous, it's not good business sense. As a retired business owner of over 30 years, qualified in Business Management and IT, it is simply not forward planning for now or for future growth and the increasing demand of technological improvements. It is adopting economics over sound and ethical business principles. We have witnessed first hand here and been deprived by Telstra for over ten years of the technology to keep up with the internet technology revolution we have already witnessed and experienced. The higher speeds required for the latest new software applications and gaming is constantly increasing. With NBN taking over, we will still have slower new internet technology than say America and even some third world countries. How are we as individuals expected to keep up?
Whether we win our current battle with Telstra or have to do the same with the NBN after their rollout in June, the Government has to take responsibility and action to fulfil their promise and ensure that every Australian has full access to these services.
This is why we are running a personal campaign as well, whilst NBN are still rolling out in our area, it is more economically viable to do it now. It's requires immediate action, more public comment and lobbying from our public groups, public meetings, more support from our local and state members etc, etc.
This involves everyone in Tuross, whether Rate Payer, Renter, Business Person or Tourist. Its not just here, it simply has a butterfly effect throughout the whole shire and beyond. It effects all businesses and individuals in Australia as our lifestyles don't dictate necessarily where we live or work anymore, where online services are expanding exponentially.
We are asking Ann Sudmalis, on behalf of everyone in Tuross Head, please assist us with our campaign for support, it is an extremely important issue. We need your help.....
Name and address supplied