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.
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.
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? 😉
© 2016, Scott Evans.
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Also published on Medium.