Telstra. Bastards!August 20, 2010
I’ve been monitoring my internet speeds for some time now. Since we moved house 6 months ago, I’ve been getting around 3 to 6 Mbps (averaging around 3-4 Mbps) on my 8 Mbps plan. I’ve been OK with that, given the limitations of an 8 Mbps plan.
However, since 11 August 2010, my download speeds have not gone over 2.5 Mbps (uploads and ping rates have remained about the same). I’ve still been able to do my work, though the download speed has been slower. Yesterday, however, my connection to my client’s servers was really ‘flaky’, dropping out at least 10 times, though fortunately not late in the day when I had to upload a 20 MB file.
So I called iinet (my ISP) this morning to see if there’s a reason for the consistently slower speeds and for the flakiness. Well, nothing was obvious for the flakiness, but Paul, the support guy I spoke to at iinet, diagnosed the problem with the slower speed almost immediately.
And it all comes back to Telstra.
Because we live more than 8 km from the Telstra exchange, we’re on a RIM (or sub exchange). However, there’s a limited amount of bandwidth available on the RIM, so if there’s congestion, Telstra will do what’s called RIM shaping. Meaning that they will impose a limit on an individual’s download speed, no matter what plan or how much the individual has paid for their connection. Paul said that even if it was possible for me to shift to an ADSL2 (24 Mbps) plan (not possible where I live), it would still go through the Telstra RIM exchange and Telstra would still shape the speed to a max of 3 Mbps if there was congestion. So I could pay squillions for a 24 Mbps service, and still only get 3 Mbps!
There’s no consideration taken by Telstra as to how much someone has paid, what plan they are on, what usage they are making of their connection (work for me; perhaps movies for others), etc.
Bastards. I wonder if I can sue them for restricting my ability to work….
The sooner we get a National Broadband Network, and break the back of this Telstra monopoly, the better.
Analogy: Let’s say 20 people turn up at a restaurant and all order the $40 steak. But there are only 10 steaks. So the restaurant decides to give some the steak they’ve ordered, give others a cheaper cut of steak, and yet others a smaller portion or ground beef — all for $40 each. Those getting the cheaper cuts, smaller portions, or the ground beef would be mightily p***ed off, especially as the restaurant won’t entertain the idea of any sort of discount or compensation for not being able to provide them with the goods they ordered AND PAID FOR. That’s exactly what Telstra does.
Update 5 November 2010: I spoke with someone at Telstra today. Bottom line: This shaping is for everyone on the exchange I share, and it’s an infrastructure thing, so it’s not going to go away until the infrastructure is upgraded…. Details at the end of this post: http://cybertext.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/telstra-did-ask-so-i-told-them/.
- Forum thread about this exact problem: http://forums.overclockers.com.au/showthread.php?t=842952
- Explanation of RIMs: http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/RIM_Remote_Integrated_Multiplexer
- One angry community reacts: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/220354,canberrans-confront-telstra-over-broadband-hell.aspx