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Subsea cable leaves Telstra customers with Apple download delays

Subsea cable issues are causing delays for Telstra customers attempting to update, download, or stream across Apple services.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Customers on the Telstra network have complained about substantial delays in downloading Apple services for most of the week, with Telstra now acknowledging a subsea cable issue and claiming that it is working on resolving it.

The issue, flagged on broadband enthusiast website Whirlpool and on Twitter, has seen Telstra customers attempting to download or update their operating systems or apps across the iTunes Store and the App Store, as well as use streaming services Apple Music and Apple Radio, experience severe delays.

This has been the case across mobile, cable, ADSL, and business fibre connections, with app updates taking dozens of minutes rather than seconds, music streaming "impossible", and updates to its newly launched OS X El Capitan taking more than a day.

"I'm on 100Mbit cable and I'm lucky if I'm getting 20KB/sec from Apple," complained Whirlpool user sebastiankong.

"I couldn't even purchase an app. My ADSL 2 plus is getting speeds of 1Mbps for a week compared to 14Mbps," added worldcitizen.

Circumventing the Telstra network with a VPN has been the only way that customers have been able to avoid the issue.

"Same here too (in Brisbane), both with my home 100mb cable connection and over 4G across the city during the day," said BurndtJam.

"Downloads crawl and Apple Music streaming is impossible. Once I start running traffic through a VPN, there's no issue. Whatever Telstra is doing with Apple traffic is very broken."

Telstra acknowledged the problem on Twitter, telling numerous customers who complained over the social network variations of: "There is an issue with the speeds to Apple servers that we are working to resolve. Apologise for the inconvenience."

Telstra has since identified a subsea cable as the cause of the issue.

"We are experiencing issues with an undersea cable connecting Australia with Singapore. As a result, some customers are experiencing slow service when using mobile devices to download or update apps or stream music from some providers," a Telstra spokesperson told ZDNet in a statement.

"We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible, including utilising alternative paths while repairs are undertaken. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and as soon as we have an update on the current situation we will let our customers know."

Telstra upgraded its subsea cable connectivity to 100Gbps in January this year in order to cope with the increasing demand for high-definition video services.

"The move to 100G is much more than just raw capacity. Alongside enhanced efficiency, 100G can help customers reduce operational expenditure and simplify network maintenance thanks to the service's ability to consolidate bandwidths. It is also flexible enough to meet the requirements of most cable companies by offering landing station and point of presence options, too," Telstra Global Enterprises and Services chief operating officer Darrin Webb said at the time.

Telstra's 100G wavelength service is available across its Telstra Endeavour, Australia-Japan cable, Asia-America Gateway, Reach North Asia Lop, and UNITY cable systems.

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