alistairphillips.com

I’m : a web and mobile developer based in the Manning Valley, Australia.


Running on NBN CVC fumes

Back in February I moved to an NBN-enabled property and migrated from ADSL2+ to NBN Fixed Wireless. I work from home so having a reliable connection is a must for me which is why I've generally always been with Telstra (there was a brief stint with TPG but I dropped them like a hot potato).

Having had Telstra Cable (30/1 and then 100/2) and ADSL (14/1) and not having experienced congestion issues I assumed that the move over over to NBN Fixed Wireless would be no different. But I was sadly mistaken. My 50/20 connection was great during the weekday but come 15:30 it would start to slow to a crawl. Speedtests during the day yielded a brilliant 5825KB/sec down but after hours that could drop down to as low as 540KB/sec.

Between Telstra, NBN and myself we debugged my issues but not without a lot of finger pointing and what I imagine must have been a waste of money between the two.

It took a lot of effort for me to prove it wasn't anything within my house but after we'd established that Telstra would blame NBN and NBN would blame Telstra. NBN decided that there was "signal degradation" and sent an engineer out to re-align the antenna. They ran a speedtest during the day which - surprise surprise - all worked perfectly but the peak time issue was still there.

One Telstra support person said they saw an NBN document describing congestion on my wireless tower which had been ongoing for the past 12 months with no resolution date in sight. This was however glossed over by NBN and Telstra so I'm not sure if it was just someone making a mistake in interpreting a document.

In the end it turned out that Telstra's internal CVC congestion report didn't accurately pick up congestion at my POI (2CFS - Coffs Harbour) and after ordering an upgrade things magically picked up. NBN CEO Bill Morrow says that CVC pricing has nothing to do with NBN user experience when it really does seem to be the case.

I wish that was the end of it but unfortunately it feels like Telstra are running up against the limits of their current CVC capacity. You can easily spot this when you're only capable of a single Netflix stream that can't even reach 720p quality.

In all my time with Telstra I've not seen such a poorly provisioned network as on the NBN. You'd like to think that such a large company could provision enough resources to provide the same service you'd get on ADSL and Cable but I'm guessing that this must be financially difficult right now.

So Mr Morrow I don't know if you're actually using an NBN connection yourself but CVC pricing is an issue when the nations largest telco can't even provision enough.

NBN has begun providing broadband speed advice along with suggestions on what might cause issues. Network congestion is mentioned but NBN has to work with RSP's to ensure that there is sufficient bandwidth available for people to do what they need.

When trying to get to the bottom of speed issues it's all too easy for the RSP and NBN to point the finger at one another with no regard for the customer. Unless you've got the patience of a Saint you may well just find yourself giving up.

Since the NBN is tax payer funded I'd like to see utilisation information so customers can use that to assist in debugging an issue. Is it an NBN congestion issue or one created by the RSP by not provisioning enough CVC.

Unfortunately my issue is not an isolated incident and you'll find many examples of the same or similar problems over on the Whirlpool forums. You'd expect this issue from another providers but when it's happening to Telstra then you know something is wrong.

Telstra have said they're looking at NBN speed performance but clearly more needs to be done.

Over on Whirlpool -Bigfish- sums it up nicely:

Just a further update. Sine the changeover from Telstra to NBN, my speed has lost all consistency. With the Telstra connections, it only varied from a best of 112/2.4 to a low of 95/1.8. Sadly, the NBN connection is very variable, peak period speed is down to 26/20, and the maximum I see is 98/38. Often speeds in the evening are around 35/35 which makes me wonder why I'm paying for a 100/40 connection. :( Will be complaining (don't expect much though) to see if anything can be done. It's not a signal problem, hopefully a CVC provisioning issue, not a node saturation issue.

If you're able to I'd suggest holding off on migrating to the NBN until all these issues are worked out.