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  • Internet speeds slowed after NBN ‘blackmail’
  • 31/03/2017 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: MrNatural ( 10 articles in 2017 )
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Consumers are having their internet speeds slashed under the $40 billion-plus National Broadband Network as Telstra and Optus are forced to withdraw their direct services from areas covered by the rollout.

Telstra and Optus operate hybrid fibre coaxial networks which deliver speeds of up to 140 megabits per second, but under Rudd government legislation they must withdraw from offering those services within 18 months of the NBN being made available in an area.

However, in many cases NBN connections are delivering just a fraction of the speeds promised and consumers are being forced from reliable, fast connect­ions on to slower, less stable NBN services.

Nino Iaccarino, of Ferny Grove in Brisbane, had a Telstra HFC 30Mbps plan that consistently deliv­ered the promised speed. “I was on Telstra cable and I never had a problem with my download speeds — it was a solid 30Mbps all the time,” he said yesterday.

However, on switching to the NBN, with the service provided by MyRepublic, paying for a package spruiking download speeds of 100Mbps, his internet speeds have dropped to as low as 1.41Mbps.

Mr Iaccarino moved to switch to Optus, but after waiting yesterday for 4½ hours for an NBN technician who did not turn up, he said he was giving up on the NBN until he was forced to sign up. “NBN is a joke — I’m going back to cable for as long as I can,” he said. But when Mr Iaccarino called Telstra for a reconnection, he was out of luck. “I just rang Telstra and I can’t go back because the NBN is government-mandated: I’m stuck!”

In Goodna, west of Brisbane, another user said he had long been connected to Telstra’s HFC netwo­rk, which connected him to Foxtel and delivered him constant internet speeds of about 90Mbps. Now Telstra has told him his internet will be disconnected if he does not sign up for the NBN, which will involve another cable being installed up his long driveway — but his Foxtel will remain connected.

The tensions result from the ALP government’s decision­ in 2011 to buy the HFC networks from Telstra and Optus and disable them, forcing users onto the NBN to cover the costs of the scheme, launched by then communications minister Steph­en Conroy.

In 2013, the incoming Coalition government, seeing the huge waste of disconnecting the reliable and performing HFC networks, changed tack and kept them in operation but for use by the NBN.

However, as per the earlier legislation, Telstra and Optus cannot use the HFC networks directly within 18 months of NBN connect­ions passing through an area. That means customers are forced off their Telstra and Optus HFC networks and required to sign up with the NBN over the same networks.

NBN Co provides the service wholesale, with more than 140 retailer­s selling NBN internet packages to customers. As reported by The Australian this week, congestion issues, exacer­bated by a failure of some retailers to buy adequate band­width from NBN Co, has meant some users getting speeds at a fraction of what they pay for.

A customer paying Telstra for a package spruiking download speeds of 100Mbps has had speeds at peak times of just 0.2Mbps.

Michael Petith of Glen Alpine, in southwest Sydney, is connected to the NBN via retail provider iiNet, on a package advertising download speeds of 100Mbps and upload­ speeds of 40Mbps. But he is getting speeds of only 33Mbps and 11Mbps respectively. Worse, as many users The Australian spoke to can attest, is connectivity: his NBN drops out “five to six times a day”. “There is almost no reporting as to why that is ... I’m consistently in the dark over my connection.”

Comment: Bullied to buy inadequate service ANNE BARROWCLOUGH
Original investigation: NBN stuck in slow lane ANTHONY KLAN
Follow up: Telstra ‘to blame’ ANTHONY KLAN


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