Internet connection?

By March 2, 2022Technology

Our fun with our internet connection began in 2016 when we were baby-sitting our son’s dog, while he was in the process of changing jobs and cities. Our internet (and landline phone) connection comes in under our eaves then travels in a metal pipe which takes the wires down the side of the house to near a grating through which they go under the house. Between the pipe and the grating, the wires are exposed for a few centimetres. When a voracious Labrador sees naked wires it must look like something tasty because the dog chewed through those wires. A mobile phone call and the Telstra technician was quick to appear and fixed the problem. Subsequently we piled some unused brick around the wires in case the dog felt hungry again.

Seven months ago, we started having trouble with our internet connection. Nominally we are supposed to get a download speed of about 53 Megabits per second (53 Mbps) and an upload speed of 18 Mbps. However, since August 2020, we have been having problems with slowdowns and dropouts. Sometimes, the download speeds dropped to about 5 Mbps and the upload speed to negligible, or the connection dropped out altogether. Our provider tried to fix it remotely, but without success. So, an NBN technician was sent to our place to try to remedy the problems. After checking the modem, he basically said that it was probably due to mice or possums under the house, but didn’t want to go under the house. The problems continued. After further phone calls to our provider, another NBN technician arrived and suggested that a new modem was needed, which duly arrived some days later. Things looked normal for a while, but then the problems recurred, and after some more phone calls, another NBN technician arrived and checked everything inside the house (again), and everything seemed normal. So, he went outside the house and looked at the connection where the cable from the nearby telegraph pole entered the house. He took it apart and reconnected the wires and we were under the impression that things would be better subsequently. The connection improved for a while, but we still experienced dropouts and slowdowns, and over the last week or so, the dropouts became more frequent and longer. Then our provider sent us a text message saying that they had detected “an issue that has caused our internet connection to drop out”. So, last Monday, another NBN technician arrived. He checked the modem (again), and the wiring where it enters the house (again), and all was as it should be. Then he went to check the telegraph pole. We can only partly see it from our property so he needed to get into our neighbour’s back yard, as the pole is on the property behind them but can be accessed from their back yard. When he got to the pole, he found that the box to which our wires are attached, was not itself attached to the telegraph pole, but was dangling in the breeze, only held up by the wires which transmit the data onwards. It gets funnier. He couldn’t fix it because the telegraph pole has been condemned and in such a case, he is not allowed (for safety reasons) to rest his ladder against the post, lest it collapse, so we now have to wait until they can organise a cherry picker to get the thing repaired and reattached to the telegraph pole. In the meantime, our normal internet connection has dropped out completely, so I am now operating via my phone which I have to hook up to my laptop via a USB plug.


  • Andrew Cocker says:

    Just checked my speed from Hobart to Canberra at 940 up and 47.8 Mbps down. Yes, that’s nearly 20 times your download speed.
    If Turnbull/Abbot hadn’t fucked Labours plan the whole country would have had access before now to that sort of performance at less cost than the current debacle .

    • admin says:

      It does make you wonder what could have been. Maybe dogs don’t chew through optic cable.

    • Cathleen O'Connor says:

      It is 2.45 am My best speed in 5 years 22.98 download 6.08 upload Benalla Victoria
      on 24 Feb it was it was 11.20 download and 0.75 upload. If ever I complain to telstra they blame my equipment.

      • admin says:

        Get on Twitter or Facebook and let them know of your displeasure. Write to your local member….. Publicity is their enemy.

  • Tina says:

    We have satellite NBN, just as soon as a cloud or light rain arrives out goes the internet. Doubt I will get them up to the satellite to see what the problem is 😛 Struggle on 🙂

  • Bron Larner says:

    Loved your account. Thank you for all your interesting blog posts.

  • clive pegler says:

    a couple of years ago, a very considerable area around Gosnells WA lost all their telephony & interwebs. They were down for a week or more. Some ne’er-do-wells had nicked several hundred metres of copper by severing it at one pit and just rolling it up at another pit. I’m in the hills several kms away and lost mine (coincidentally as it happens) at the same time. So i figured I’d just be patient. A coupla weeks later I gleaned that all was hunky dory down Gosnells way now but i was still down. OK so now I’m concerned, so rang Telstra (the provider) as at the time i was sole carer for my 92YO mum, but they ‘forgot’ to get back in contact (multiple times), not too big a deal as I still had a mobile which all mum’s service providers had also. SO …….. some (several) weeks later, the episode was being discussed on ABC local, so I rang and spoke to the lovely producer Damian who said “leave it with me”. He rang them and the tech appeared two days later. A really nice little Indian guy who I’m sure must have been a Nuclear Physicist or similar. Anyhoo, up into the ceiling he pops and fixes it! RATS!!!!! 😀

    • admin says:

      Bad publicity has an effect. I suspect that because I am on Twitter and have complained there a few times over the last 7 months, they seem to be very responsive.

  • Glenn says:

    We would still have a world-class broadband network if idiots didn’t elect Abbott in 2013. It was him who ordered Turnbull to demolish what was once known as the NBN. This is why I call it “Abbott’s Internet” and I decided to boycott it ages ago and use a 4G connection instead. Works all the time. I live in an area where mostly everyone uses Telstra and I don’t have congestion on my cell tower.

    • admin says:

      I have been using the 4G network as our wire system is still cactus. It has not caused any dramas, but the current download speed is about 8% of our previous 53Mbps (i.e. 4.3Mbps). Dowloading large files from the cloud is slow.

  • Russell says:

    The NBN rollout and associated never-ending p[roblems across the country must rank as one of the great infrastructure debacles of the last fifty years – minimum. Government knew this project was to be mammoth and that its planning had to be first-rate before the first sod was turned. Getting it wrong should have been seen as an impossibility if only because of the need to bring us up to scratch with world’s best digital technology and speed of communications. And of course, when a country spends so many billions on a plan like that, efficiency and structure of the rollout has to be A-1, or you are likely to waste a lot of tax dollars fixing stuff ups. Of course, in every aspect from go to woe twop governments proved they could not oversee the NBN with the required controls, the logical preparation requirements of building such a project, or even contain the budget. It is now here, but what pain and unnecessary revamping have been endured to get the NBN working optimally. Nothing to be proud of really, and a shame on the Coalition especially. Not putting fibre to the home and business right across the network was another giant mistake, surely. We should have asked Germany to do the thing right from the outset!

    • admin says:

      The idiot Abbott could not understand that the internet was the future. All he thought it was for was entertainment. Just this afternoon, I uploaded files for work (from work) totalling about 650Mb and it took well over half an hour. Couple this with our home connection being cactus, there is no way I could work on those files at home.

    • Jon says:

      Modern Australian govts – esp conservative ones – couldn’t run a bloody chook raffle. Why that is ought to be the subject of many books and media exposés but apparently no-one (apart, occasionally, from the under-resourced Auditor General) is interested in accountability and deliverables where taxpayer money is concerned. The NBN rollout was always going to be a money pit and a technological dog’s breakfast irrespective of whether Labor or a succession of rw hand washer/wavers were involved. Comms Minister Turnbull didn’t have a clue, nor was he interested. Pretty much sums up his time as Prime Minister also.

      For the few people who have unresolved telephone (fixed lines esp) problems there is a very simple and effective solution to lack of service – The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. For safety reasons (primarily), providers are required by law to fix telephone access problems very quickly (can’t recall the exact length of time allowed, from memory around 10 working days?) or they WILL be fined for every day beyond that. Iirc fines are also bigger according to the number of unresolved complaints. Internet phones may be exempt, or more accurately providers will often require that you waiver your rights in regard to net telephony service complaints. Check your fine print/contract.

      I can tell you from experience that formal complaints to the TIO work very well, although you do have to work for it (documenting regular dropouts and provider actions/failures to resolve problems is the way to go). A message from the TIO is guaranteed to get the attention of recalcitrant service providers.

  • Warren says:

    A few years ago a clever mate convinced me to to drop my landline connection to my house and rely on my my mobile network . So my Telstra copper line and my old Transact, now NBN , lines are no longer used. I am presently with Circle.Life (Optus Network), 3/4G), on a $30 100GB a month plan for 12 months. No lock-in contract, bring your own phone/number, full month billing. Their are some good deals out there, usually not with the big boys. And I look around and and haggle every 12 mths.

    The most download I’ve used is 50 GB, so I’m not a big user. My phone only cost $210 (not 5G obviously). My speeds around 13.00 today were approx. 50D, 9U and 37 ping, whatever that is.

    My phone is connected by cable to my old PC with windows 7 operation system. My young bloke will show me, again, how to connect wirelessly. Securely.

    So far relying on my mobile network over the years has caused very few issues. When my mobile was stolen, I was only out of action for short period of time. I conclude that if the LNP hadn’t stuffed up the NBN, I would not be using a foreign companies network?

    • admin says:

      You aren’t the first person to tell me this. Someone told me a while back that their new iPhone 11 (I think) is on the 5G network and supposedly has a download speed of about 100Mbps, which is twice what I used to get. The NBN people called today and our connection is supposed to be ‘fixed’ tomorrow. However, we will see.

      • Warren says:

        My smart mate gets over 100Mbps down at the South Coast using his mobile network (Optus). He has a flash phone, probably 5G . He also uses a modem allowing multiple users, laptops, etc.

    • Jon says:

      Free phone calls with your plan Warren?
      Just fyi Transact is not part of the NBN. It was bought at a fire sale price of $60M by iinet then was apparently later bought from iinet by the NBN. Somehow within a couple of years Transact ended up back in iinet’s (now owned by TPG) hands. It currently operates as a VDSL2 internet/telephony service completely independent of NBN Co. It seems no-one at NBN Co knew what to do with it despite NBN CEO Quigley saying that it would be integrated into the NBN infrastructure.

      Transact network cost $280M to build and was sold for $60M as I said. ACTEW part owned it, so in a portent of things to come for Canberra ratepayers they copped it in the eye, as they later did with the Cotter Dam uninsurance fiasco. NBN Co’s execs are among the highest paid Commonwealth “employees” in the land. They enjoy regular bonuses despite being massively over budget and years behind their schedule. Go figure.

  • Warren says:

    Unlimited talk and Text Jon. I was Originally paying $28/mth. When Circles wanted me to pay $38/mth on renewal, after some discussions we agreed on $30/mth.

    You are correct about the old Transact network. iinet offer Ultra VDSL2 at my address, with speeds of 74Mbps. Sorry for the confusion. My young block is a gamer and he was so happy with the old Transact network, he was happy to pay the bill.

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