Linux, politics, and other interesting things
77020 packets transmitted, 18029 received, 76% packet loss, time 77049435ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 20.026/130.848/2245.752/287.550 ms, pipe 3
Above are the ping results from pinging my server (hosted on a business DSL connection). Telstra stuffed up and appear to have entirely disconnected DSL for a few suburbs (based on reports from a client who has several clients in that region that all went offline simultaneously). It’s affected at least two ISPs (every DSL service uses Telstra’s backbone). The above ping results show almost 17 hours of outage, but it was really more like 18 (I didn’t start pinging until I realised it was down). Telstra’s response to the problem reports (which my client raised via two ISPs) was that it would take until the end of the next business day. The problem was reported at 10AM, so Telstra was apparently happy with two entire business days of outage.
I think that the root cause of such problems is the terrible performance of Sol Trujillo  (or “Telstra’s Sole True Hero” as suggested in Crikey ). Under Sol’s leadership Telstra stock has not performed well (it’s a monopoly – it’s supposed to reap money), it’s lost market share in every area where competition is permitted and it hasn’t made it’s customers happy.
Sol is taking an approach to business that works well for some big companies in the US (and for the mining and automative industries in Australia). He has been trying to force the government to extend the Telstra monopoly with the Fibre To The Node (FTTN) plan . His idea was to have small Telstra boxes (nodes) spread around the suburbs with short copper runs to each home, each node would have absolutely no spare space for other ISP equipment and therefore the other ISPs would not be able to provide a service. The claim was that FTTN was needed for decent performance but ADSL2+ has been shown to work well in the areas where FTTN was proposed.
Telstra even sent out brochures to stock-holders encouraging them to lobby members of Parliament on behalf of Telstra’s rent seeking . However Australia is not like the US and this didn’t work, they couldn’t even get Telstra stock holders to support such plans. Speaking for myself, my interests as a Telstra stock-holder (and I own more Telstra shares than the median stock holder) are vastly outweighed by my interests as a consumer of telecommunications services.
I would like to see the government nationalise the local loop and the exchange buildings and then provide fair and equal access to all telephone companies and ISPs (including Telstra). Then we can have true competition in this market and the companies that provide the best services will win. Currently Telstra resembles one of those inefficient Soviet monopolies. We need some capitalism in the telco industry!
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