DSLAM report card: Telstra tells all

DSLAM report card: Telstra tells all

Summary: Telstra will be forced to keep meticulous records on activities in its telephone exchanges, according to new regulations designed to alleviate complaints by other telcos.


Telstra will be forced to keep meticulous records on activities in its telephone exchanges, according to new regulations designed to alleviate complaints by other telcos.

The Croydon (Vic) exchange area
(Credit: Telstra)

Rivals of the nation's largest telco have complained for years about long delays to access the exchanges and Telstra's move to limit (cap) how much hardware can be installed. The other companies need access to install their own hardware, particularly DSL multiplexers (DSLAMs), which provide broadband services.

"The ACCC believes that there is a strong need for independent oversight of Telstra's processes to cap exchanges to ensure that Telstra is held accountable and access seekers are not unreasonably denied access to Telstra exchanges," said Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Graeme Samuel in a statement today.

"There is also a clear need to identify the exact cause of delays with Telstra's queuing system," he added.

Under the regulator's new rules, Telstra will have to keep records and monthly reports on its exchanges and outline the details of capping decisions and how much space is reserved by the telco for its own future requirements.

Telstra will also have to provide information on the length of queues to enter an exchange, including which companies are seeking access, where they stand in the line and how they are progressing.

The decision will help throw some light on the "keys to the exchange" argument, according to an ACCC spokesperson, and will help the regulator do its job.

"The record keeping rule will assist the ACCC in carrying out its statutory functions under the access regime in the Trade Practices Act and provide confidence to access seekers investing in competitive DSLAM infrastructure about the accuracy of Telstra's processes," Samuel said.

But Telstra said the rule will be time-consuming and expensive without helping consumers.

"The ACCC is over-reaching its powers again where no problems exist," a spokesperson for the telco said in a statement, adding that the company had already made changes itself to provide access seekers with more information on capped exchanges.

The capped exchanges won't be fixed by record-keeping, the spokesperson continued, because it was a symptom of the high demand for space in the exchanges which has been brought on by the ACCC's low pricing of the unbundled local loop and line-sharing services through which rivals use Telstra's copper.

"Sometimes there may be delays — just like there would be at a David Jones fire sale. Any delays are not deliberate and this process won't fix them."

The best thing would be to get on with the national fibre-to-the-node broadband network and stop "mucking around" with the DSL technology, according to Telstra, which in its NBN regulatory submission said it didn't want the new fibre network to have to coexist with the existing ADSL2+ network.

Topics: Telcos, Government, Government AU, Microsoft, Telstra

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • Stand on your own two feet.

    Never in the history of world business have competitors devised such a devious trick to obtain unfair advantage over an opponent.

    Until the Telstra opposition invest in plant and equipment and abandon the free-ride mentality Australia will never have true and fair competition.
  • You have to be kidding

    How about they also report on the true cost to maintain these exchanges, the copper in the ground and the associated maintenance programs.

    Once they report the costs on an exchange by exchange, copper pair by copper pair and call center / technician costs they they can charge the wholesale clients the true service delivery costs.

    That would never happen, the ACCC would never never enforce this rule as they know as well as everyone that all of these resellers are simply getting a cheap ride.
  • True service delivery costs

    According to Telstra its true service delivery costs can't be any more than $19.95 as that's what they charge retail for a full telephone service, yet Telstra wanted to charge $30 for a piece of low-tech aging copper to its competitors. Where's the logic behind that? Or the logic behind wanting to rise wholesale prices by a rate over 300% to what it originally agreed upon only a few years ago?

    Oh and by the way why do you care what Telstra's "true costs" are?
  • Oh! and why do you care?

    LOL James TTTT Bell. Telstra offers a service at a price as they generate income from actual calls carried on the line. It's a bit like supplying a mobile handset for $50 although it costs the company more then that they know they will generate an income from call charges. If Telstra is not going to generate call revenue from a phone line then they lose an income source and the true cost of the line becomes more evident.

    You want copper to be bequeathed or supplied at a cost that does not reflect it's true cost, you want call charges at next to no cost and interconnect fees at nothing from mobiles but plenty from fixed lines.

    You are the biggest hypocrite in this country (even more then Graeme Samuel, John Howard & co). At least we know who pays their salary and they don't deny it.

    I worked in this industry for almost 40 years with my first 22 years in Telecom, I keep across what's happening via news stories, visit this site every few weeks and own about 20,000 Telstra shares (about 5% of my share portfolio), My personal well being does not depend on the success or failure of Telstra and am not interested in trading any of the shares. Is that what you wanted to know?
  • Strange cattle in the Circus.

    John Hamilton your expert opinion is greatly appreciated in the endeavour to bring sense to this debate. I cannot understand how the Anti Telstra Circus do nothing to promote the virtues of their own companies but simply and continually attack Telstra. Surely their companies have something going fo them?
  • I'll tell you why I care

    I care because if people like yourself were running the ACCC then we'd all be paying more. You'd obviously allow Telstra to charge exorbitant access rates to competitors, effectively destroying what competition we have and this would then impact the costs consumers are forced to pay for such services. So unlike the Telstra supporters who post here I do actually have a legitimate reason for caring.

    Your mobile comparison is flawed because when carriers subsidise with a low or no upfront cost there's always a 12-24 contract behind it. These underlying costs well and truly guarantees them a return.

    And this still doesn't answer how Telstra could suddenly decide to do a backflip on the costs they originally agreed upon by such a significant margin, not to mention the fact that servicing ULLS requires significantly less OPEX (I'd estimate below 10%) than what their retail services are "costing" them to service.

    The notion that Telstra is being forced to provide ULLS access at below cost is a furphy.
  • Here we go again...

    Telstra do not own the copper, they are paid to maintain it for the nation and even then if I recall they stated that 15% of the copper network is screwed.

    People act as though Telstra has a God given right, it does not. It is a privatised entity who is charged with managing a national asset, if they don't want it anymore then seperate the retail from the wholsale and make it a wholesalers issue to get the funding.

    The sooner the ex public servants in Telstra and the dinosaurs out there realise that Telstra no longer own Australias telecommunications infrastructure lock stock and barrel, the sooner well get this mess sorted out.
  • Irony?

    Oh Sydney, cant you see the irony in your blind defence of all things blue and gold? Competitors ARE trying to invest, and Telstra are stopping them.

    They have devised no devious plans as your conspiracy theory alludes. They are simply asking for the access to the bottleneck infrastructure that they are entitled to by LAW.
  • It's called a legislated right

    The copper in the ground is now owned by Telstra.

    Like it or not this is not being maintained by the company for the country, it is being maintained by the company to retain asset value and increase returns to the shareholders who actually bought those assets from the government.

    Using your logic all of the infrastructure paid for by every carrier out there is also owned by the government and is only being maintained by the carrier on the country's behalf.

    The day that the government starts taking away private assets without just and fair compensation or choice will be the day we rename the country to be called Zimbabwe.
  • Anti Telstra

    A lot of us are anti telstra is because TELSTRA IS UNREASONABLE a lot of the time and they dont make it easy for us to supprot them. Just look at there IPhone pricing and everything else. It wouldnt be so bad if it didnt stick it to the customer every chance it gets with shareholders is allways right screw the customer mentality. (What happend to the customer is allways right?)

    Thank god for the competition....
  • Anti Telstra

    I've been a happy Telstra customer for many years now. I'd rather do business with them because I believe they are the best. It's not unusual to find that an Australian company is better. You should give them a fair go and you might be surprised how good they are.
  • Lies Lies Lies

    James Bell cares because he is a paid employee of the CCC/T4/Optus/Opel/Terria or another carrier. His job description includes the requirement to write a total of 5000 words attacking Telstra across a total of at least 7 different web sites. The information he has would only be able to be sourced by either someone that has either no life outside of telecommunications or one that works for one of the carriers.
  • Irony!

    The only investment bottleneck is the tight a**es at all of those companies crying poor because they don't want to invest and Telstra is making it harder for them to ride on their back. No one will stop a company from investing serious money and building truly competitive infrastructure.

    Just look at the Telstra mobile network where they built a massive network and 2 years later the other carriers are still making community service announcements about how wonderful their networks will be just as hell freezes over.

    How about the Singtel fibre cable to Tasmania, 3years, $15M of Tasmanian taxpayer funds and it is still not up and running.

    What about backhaul, today the high profit links (Syd-Mel, Syd-Bris, Mel-Adel, Adel-Per) are highly competitive but how about Adel-Dar, Per-Dar, Bris-Cairns which are ignored by all carriers except Telstra because of the low margin. Don't make claims that the infrastructure was there all along because backhaul has been increased by over 100 fold by Telstra in the past decade.

    We could look at profitability, each company releases a financial report each year. As Telstra is an Australian company the reporting must be audited.

    Troll through the facts and figures and you will find that their profitability is solid but is highest in the mobiles area, in fact this is propping up many other low profit areas making the company's overall figures look quite good.

    Isn't it funny how the most unregulated part of the industry (mobiles) is also the most competitive and successful. What does that tell you, they invest, others invest and the best company comes out ahead.
  • Blah Blah Blah

    Let me guess. You can't provide a decent argument so instead you resort to conspiracy theories? Either contribute to the topics being discussed or don't bother because accusing me of working for T4 etc., is getting old.
  • irony haha

    your not still sore at the big T over that mean mr bruem answering your stupid nwat comment with a witty reply are you precious?
  • Blah blah indeed, blah blah king

    I can assure you I can supply you with a decent argument and having you running off tail between your legs as usual!

    Thing is, you are just too blinded by either hatred or cash for comments to recognise it.

    So really, what's the point!
  • Love it

    Now I know what to call myslef ...
  • Not Sydney you twat

    That comment was not by Sydney! You are simply a loser who makes comments without facts or basis.
  • Delivery costs - but "why do you care" - lol!

    Typical ridiculous James comment - "why do you care" - lol. He's used that a lot lately, must be an addendum in the T4 bible of inconsistencies, stalling and clouding, outlining how to get out of a sticky question - lol!

    Why don't you care (being the self proclaimed consumers hero) that a lot of telecoms analysts and SingTel - Singapore, are saying structural (ss) separation, would increase consumer costs? BT's CEO Mr. Livingston, who has been through the whole array of separation issues, saying ss "isn't the answer"?

    But of course you "will blindly believe" heaps of Telstra's competitors who love the idea of Telstra's ss, surprise, surprise! Seems you are anti-Telstra, Pro-TERRiA, anti-consumer to me!

    You say, according to Telstra, delivery costs can't be any more than $19.95 - you need to supply proof!!!!!
  • here we go again alright

    here we go again. you have it around the wrong way, what do you think telstra shareholders bought, leasing rights? they bought telstra's assets including the copper. where you are getting confused is there are provisions within the sale, which included access to telstra's competitors for existing fixed line. that's why mobiles aren't regulated and newer fixed investments, like the adsl2 exchanges aren't either. all blasphemy aside, no they don't have a 'god given right' but perhaps 'jc rights' though!