[clug] Trump Telstra once and for all (was: ADSL2 from Internode)

Ben shadroth at gmail.com
Sun Oct 8 10:53:44 GMT 2006

DISCLAIMER: I am an Internode Authorised Partner.

On 9/29/06, Paul Wayper <paul.wayper at anu.edu.au> wrote:
> Stephen Jenkin wrote:
> > Happened to look at Internodes' ADSL2 availability pages:
> > <http://cgi.internode.on.net/cgi-bin/dsl-coverage-table?carrier=Agile>
> >
> Belconnen has been this way for about three weeks by my guess, so
> theoretically they're not even started.

The Build process can be long and drawn out. Only one ISP can have
their stuff put in at a time. Telstra charges $99/head (IIRC) for the
wires to be yanked off their DSLAM and put on another DSLAM, (and
that's in lots of 20 at a time). You can't get individual connections
done, for any price. You need to do a full disconnect and a full
application for ADSL which typically involves around 10 days downtime
(with Internode you can submit a relocation which may allow slightly
less downtime, and I assume other ADSL2+ ISPs would allow this).

> This discussion has spurred me to finally pull my finger out; I'm going
> to write up an email to the various major ADSL2 providers (Internode,
> iiNet, Extetel, TPG) to suggest the following idea (put simply):

Exetel are mainly using Optus ports, I'm not sure if they run any of
their own. Internode has been talking with Optus about wholesale
access to their network. I'm fairly certain Internode also offer
wholesale access via

> 0: All the non-Telstra ISPs that are getting into ADSL2 come together to
> plan this.
> 1: Set up a holding company that 'owns' all the ADSL2 DSLAM equipment
> not owned by Telstra.
> 2: The holding company does all the work of connecting customers with
> 'subcontractors' from the ISPs - i.e. it doesn't own any staff per se.
> 3: Each ISP gets access to the equipment, in proportion to how much
> equipment it's contributing.
> 4: The data gets routed as appropriate and customers are billed by their
> own ISP.

What you're proposing is pretty much another wholesale company, that
would run in parallel to Telstra. Issues to be resolved include:

* Not all DSLAMs are created equal. Some DSLAMS work better with
certain DSP chips - which is why some brands of modem work better with
one provider than with another.

* Each ISP still needs their own backhaul, if they want an independant
network. Since Internode claim their network is brilliant, they
probably don't want to compromise by dealing with other companies, so
essentially it would be a DSLAM only network for ISPs that wanted full
network control. It may not be possible to separate the networks
enough - QoS (packet prioritisation) for NodePhone only fully works on
an Agile DSLAM and I'm not sure what part of using Telstra Wholesale
stops the QoS from fully working.

* There are two ways of hooking your own DSLAM to Telstra's copper:
SSS (where Telstra still handles the voice at a wholesale level (and
possibly a retail level) or ULL, where the non-Telstra provider
handles everything on the line. Internode use SSS, iiNet use SSS, but
resell Telsta voice as their own product. I'm think Primus and Optus
might use ULL, but I'm not too sure. One advantage of having a single
DSLAM provider, is being able to churn between providers, but it would
not be possible to churn between ULL and SSS providers as this would
require a physical change.

* No-one knows what Telstra will do and they could really make
everything difficult. At present, the Telstra network is capable of
8/1 (ADSL v1 full rate) on every ADSL exchange or RIM and many Telstra
exchanges (and probably RIMs) are capable of ADSL2+ (max 24/1, or max
24/1.1 with Internode) and probably Annex M (max 22.5/2.5). Telstra
doesn't want to switch this on, because they have to wholesale the
higher speeds. I also suspect that they're concerned Annex M will eat
into their SHDSL profits.

* DSLAM costs aren't necessarily the major barrier to deployment. The
cost of (Telstra) backhaul to rural areas is a more significant factor
in their viability for DSLAM deployment than the local demand for 2+
is, so they often miss out. RIA is using an alternative backhaul
provider in Queensland and is able to offer ADSL2+ at a fraction of
the city price as a result. Their prices are simply astonishing -
$24.95 for 5GB ADSL2+, or $54.95 for 100GB ADSL2+ with free setup,
free modem, no contract and a month's free trial anyone? - that's in
part thanks to the Broadband Connect scheme.

> The immediate aim is to stop redundant equipment being put into
> exchanges, and to maximise the speed of conversion to ADSL2.

I'm not sure if that much redundant equipment is being added - many
exchanges are filling up. If you look at the future outage advisories
for Internode, you will see that many of the DSLAM migrations are for
current exchanges. More hardware is being added all the time and
sometimes they run out of space at the exchange for it.

> The
> ultimate aim is to shove a large bargepole up Telstra's ... pitiful
> attempts at controlling the consumer data network in Australia.

ADSL2+ covers a huge amount of the population. I'm only on a Telstra
port because Internode 2+ is not available at my exchange - iiNet and
TPG are, but I don't trust them.

> The
> average connected person in Korea has an 80 _megabit_ connection; there
> are applications that they run there that are simply inconcievable
> across our internet connections.

Maybe you should be pushing for VDSL then? We don't have the density
to make something like that possible. You should compare Australia
with a country with a similar urban density - ADSL2+ speeds are more
acceptable then, and our lower overall density means the net should
cost a bit more here too.

> It's blindingly obvious that Telstra
> is deliberately keeping the technology low to squeeze the most money out
> of everyone, and Optus has no encouragement to do much better because
> the pickings are so rich.

Optus have 2+ (or max 20/0.8) at a $/GB similar to Internode (in some
cases better if you count their 12am-12pm only 'yes' data), they just
miss out on all the features and quality of support. They're even
offering wholesale (albeit giving much reduced priority to wholesale
customers vs.  their own retail customers). I don't like Optus, but
they could be doing a lot worse in the 2+ arena.

> It's also in Telstra's best interests that
> all the other ISPs fight amongst eachother for customers rather than
> tackle Telstra as one united group.  If they all got together and shared
> the connectivity, then Telstra would quickly be left as a dead duck,
> peddling its hopeless cable service and restrictive usage conditions,
> while everyone moved to ADSL2 and realised that they never wanted to go
> back.

and still paying Telstra for the copper. The only way to leave Telstra
is to go wireless, or get Optus HFC, or TransACT. TransACT are worse
than Telstra when it comes to wholesale access to their network;
Internode have been trying for years to get access to the TransACT
network and they even have a POP at TransACT house, and got TransACT
to help with the additional backbone for the Civic DSLAM, but TransACT
still won't let them offer a service - presumably because they might
compete with Grapevine). TransACT are worse than Telstra when it comes
to artificially constraining the speed of the service. The highest
residential plan is a 2Mbps plan, and the network is capable of 56Mbps
(including video and voice). The business plans start $549/month for
10M/1M connection, with a $2,000 installation cost and you still need
to get an ISP on top of that!

> It still allows the ISPs to compete, and to offer different services, so
> it doesn't mean we get a third Super-ISP that homogenises everyone and
> reduces competition.  And hopefully it also means that they can build
> much better cases for sharing other equipment, to get more fiber lit and
> to get other partners in (imagine if every ADSL2 provider could also
> offer shows from the same VOD provider...).

I think some of these things would be better addressed by using PIPE.

> If you imagine if Telstra had never been forced to install ADSL
> equipment in nearly every exchange, then that's the situation we'd be in
> now.  The cost of everyone putting their own ADSL equipment into each
> exchange in order to get customers would be too much for most ISPs.

Internode have installed ADSL2+ DSLAMS and run their own Microwave
backhaul (Telstra had fibre but they wanted too much for it) to some
regional exchanges that Telstra haven't even bothered setting up ADSL
at - and they started that in 2003.

> Moving to a new house would probably mean changing ISPs because the old
> one didn't have equipment in the new exchange.

It still can for people wanting 2+ today.

> Most people would still
> be on dial-up, since it worked everywhere.

> So why don't they do it?

Would you want to join a venture that was part owned by iiNet? (have a
look at their share price over the last 12 months: IIN ).

It would be a great idea if all ISPs were like Internode, or at least
the DSLAM operator was...


More information about the linux mailing list