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Telecom's Shocking DSL Admission 6 March 2002 Edition
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Note: I'm aware that I've covered this topic extensively in recent weeks but the number of emails I'm getting from angry DSL users continues to grow, with many worried that their complaints are falling on deaf ears. As a result, I did some snooping around the Telecom website in search of clues as to what's going on.

It's now been five days or so since Telecom's DSL service began suffering from extensive intermittency and, at times, total outages.

A quick check of the XTRA help page last night (screenshot) showed that as of 9pm, the problems still persisted and that the now meaningless resolution date had been pushed ever further into the future.

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Come on guys -- if you don't know when it will be fixed just say so, don't go on making lame promises.

Of course we're repeatdly told that it's not XTRA's fault -- they're just a Telecom customer like everyone else -- but somehow that doesn't explain why it is that on this page from the Telecom site we have the XTRA version of Jetstream being promoted exclusively. What about all Telecom's other ISP customers -- why don't they rate a mention if the relationship between the Telecom and XTRA is purely one of supplier and reseller I wonder?

And, while you've got that page on your browser, read carefully the bit that says in big bold text: "Fast, reliable Internet and data services" -- and the slightly smaller text that says: "JetStream is a fantastically fast and reliable way to access the Internet." (screenshot)

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • Telecom and ADSL... - Dennis
  • ADSL... - Andrew
  • DSL or JetStream problems?... - Samuel
  • Err..Not Xtras Fault?... - Joe
  • Problems?... - Stewart
  • Have Your Say

    If a web-page can be considered to be advertising, perhaps it's time that someone had words with the Advetising Standards Authority about Telecom's wildly inaccurate claims in respect to Jetstream.

    However, I suspect that Telecom might be about to make some changes to these extravagant claims -- and indeed, I see that through this page (screenshot) the company is already trying to cover its backside.

    Yes, in a shocking revelation, Telecom is effectively admitting that when Jetstream breaks, the backup structure is so poor that they can't guarantee to fix it in a reasonable time.

    That's right -- although Telecom/XTRA will happily sell you Jetstream for business use, if you are planning to rely on it for important communications or services then they're quietly admitting that only a fool would use it for such.

    Perhaps someone would like to ask the Hon. Paul Swain exactly what use all these conferences, seminars and motivational "knowledge wave" and "innovation" schmoozfests are when a lack of competition is allowing Telecom to neglect what must be considered one of the most core ingredients of a modern knowledge economy -- DSL broadband.

    Of course, given its monopoly position and refusal to allow any other potential DSL provider to gain access to the critical "last mile", Telecom has no reason to be worried about the Jetstream reliability fiasco. Hell, it's probably making even more money than usual because many of its customers are paying by the megabyte to repeatedly try and download the same files after being unexpectedly disconnected.

    One can't help but get the impression that Telecom is merely paying lip-service to the implementation and support of DSL in New Zealand -- after all, why would it offer a *reliable* low-cost service through Jetstream when it really wants to sell you one of its far more expensive and profitable services such as DDS or frame relay?

    Telecom, please -- if (by your own admission) you can't (or wont) provide a reliable DSL service then please step aside and allow other providers to do the job properly by allowing them access to the local loop.

    That any government would allow what is rapidly becoming an "essential service" on which a growing number of knowledge-based industries are highly reliant to be neglected and dominated by just one player is just outrageous.

    Given that building a knowledge-based economy here in New Zealand is, by the government's own declaration, the key to our future competiveness in world markets, then perhaps we should let the government know that we consider it an election issue. Don't just think about it -- email pswain@ministers.govt.nz and your local MP to tell them just how serious this matter is.

    What do we have to do to get something better than a third-world DSL service in this country???

    Have your say.

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