Tasmanian Internet (or lack of)

This started back on December 21st 2015 when it was reported there was a failure in the Basslink HVDC cable.  This links between Loy Yang Victoria to Georgetown Tasmania.  At first Hydro Tasmania believed the issue would be resolved within 60 days.  So all should be good… not to be, after delays in locating the cable, then not being able to ascertain where the fault was, the initial cutting was delayed until a better idea of where the fault was.  When the Basslink HVDC cable was laid down, this also included a Dark Fibre cable that would be run by Basslink Telecoms. This was to be a crucial new link for Tasmania as a way of not being held to ransom by Telstra, who have a monopoly on the wholesale of data passing to & from the state at the time. Basslink announced on February 22nd that the revised timeline for the cable repair was unknown.

basslink_1 basslink_2 Examples of Basslink Cable

So we jump forward to March 11th, this is where things get interesting! Basslink Telecom switched off the fibre at 08:15 and services that had made prior arrangements with Telstra were transferred. This is the moment when Tasmania's internet slowed to a crawl, with customers on iinet, Internode, Westnet affected the worst. This naturally sparked an immediate social network backlash on Twitter and Facebook with customers venting their complaints.

2016-03-14 10-04-25 2016-03-13 18-54-46 Speed Tests

So how did it come to this? How could a situation that's been known about be left like a last minute suck it a see approach? The fibre line had to be cut so repairs could take place on the HVDC line. It's not like it was going to be left in situ while the other was repaired, after all the HVDC cable is 60kg/meter so it's heavy and requires special teams to do the work  Well this is where things get a little messy, there's been claims that helpdesk staff have been saying that the problem has nothing to do with Basslink, or that the helpdesk staff had no idea about Basslink and it's effect it was to have.  Now I can't vouch for such, I mean after all you can't believe everything you read on the internet right? 😉

Will Hodgman announcement

IPv4 vs IPv6 Data Usage (unmetered content)

It's a known fact that if you use IPv6 on Internode then your unmetered content actually becomes metered due to a limit in their billing system (my assumption) Here's an example of the last few days where I disabled IPv6 and then later re enabled it…


The bulk of the unmetered content whilst only using IPv4 was from Netflix! I'm not worried about this really as I have more than enough of a quota 🙂

Phone Line Shenanigans

All the trouble started around 10:45 on the 18th when a contractor working for the NBNCo managed to dig trough the phone cable about 200m down the road. So the obvious was immediate loss of DSL connection which also left me without a telephone. A quick call to my ISP (Internode) revealed that they had lost the signal to the line I'm on at about 200m short of my house! So I went for a stroll down the road to see if there was any obvious signs as to what had happened. When I rounded the corner there was an excavator on the back of a truck leaving the scene and a guy standing in the trench that had just been opened not looking too pleased. Here's a picture of the damaged phone cable…


Later in the day the site looked like this…


Then the following day all was fixed and covered up…


So did I have a connection once the cable was rejoined? I did for about half an hour then all was lost 🙁 So I rang my ISP to see if they were aware of the cable being fixed and to try and get them to do another line test but the guy who took my call clearly wasn't Mr Helpful as he just kept telling me that my service won't be looked at until the 28th (February) At this point I was getting rather frustrated with him and when I asked what my options are for getting either an alternate access or a credit for downtime he stated that I didn't qualify for either and reminded me about the 28th (I was going in circles) so the conversation ended.

Skip forward to the 28th… I was of the opinion that this was to be the day that I'd get my phone/internet restored. Well no it wasn't! I contacted my ISP around 1:30pm to get an update on how things were going to get a rather rude shock to be told that there wasn't a job in the system for the checking/repair of my line. Now this is when I did my best not to become abusive! But I certainly got the point across of dissatisfaction because of being disconnected for a week and a half and the guy on the support line was doing all he could to see why the appointment was either cancelled or never booked (my speculation) then checked to see if they had any loan equipment (3G modem) available but due to the recent bush fires in the south (Forcett, Dunalley & Tasman Peninsula) all there gear was out on loan. So this is where the job was booked in for the 7th of March!

Well after sending an email to a friend to advise that my APRS iGate & T2 server will be still out of action until then (7th March) I get a phone call from his son (just happens to be a Telstra Tech) asking me if my line was still down and said that it will be fixed tomorrow morning! I got a call around 10:30am the following day and it was the Telstra guy who repaired the cable asking me a few questions about the whole situation and then rang back about 20 minutes later with the answer to the problem and said it would be fixed within the hour! 🙂

So it turns out that on the day that the cable was repaired some other technicians were doing line tests and had picked my line to test as it was not a phone line with a dial tone (DSL only) and they didn't reconnect the line back. So this was the reason why I lost my internet/phone about half hour after the street cable was repaired (over a week earlier) So my line was restored to its original setup and I was reconnected to my ISP's DSLAM and hey presto… Internet access restored 🙂

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SpeedTest Update…

A while back I installed a dedicated line splitter/filter for the home phone line so that I have a dedicated extension for ADSL & one for voice, this has given me the benefit of getting a more steady ADSL signal and so I can take advantage of the profiles provided by my ISP. A test done using SpeedTest has my current download/upload speeds as follows…

My router has the following figures (theoretical)

So as compared to the last time I was testing out the different profile settings (prior to the installation of this line splitter/filter) it has made a significant different as I could not use the fastest setting because it would randomly drop out several times a day (not good when you are hosting your own Email/Web Server!)

You can see the comparisons from the previous test results here and here

Internode have blown the competition away!

Now seriously, does your ISP give you this much ???

Now that Internode have just released their new plans now is the time to question your ISP if are not getting a fair deal.

See the full list of Internode T-shirt plans here

Internode T-shirt plans

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