Telecom Xtra Broadband:
Are we victims of it's success or is it just a tight-fisted money-grabber?
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I have been a subscriber of DSL for more than 2 years and have been complaining to them for several months about the poor quality of the service provided.

A little more than six months ago I begun to notice a pattern in the way the  quality of my DSL service would deteriorate every 4 to 5 weeks for 12 to 24 hours. I telephoned the helpdesk and informed them of this on 4 occasions over 3 months. These calls usually resulted in my being informed that nothing could be done immediately, but it would be looked into. I would turn everything off and try again the next day. Sometimes it would be better in the morning, other times I would have to wait until the evening.

Three months ago I phoned the help desk to inform them that I had concluded that my problem seem to be caused by packet loss within their network and that it was getting more persistent. The problems would be worse on weekends and then get slightly better on Mondays (but not back to the level it was before that weekend). This has continued to the point where the DSL service I get is often worse than dial-up. Even browsing is impossible from time to time (not always at "peak" times either). IP address was dropping packets and continued to do so when on the 20th of July that hop was replaced/changed to On 2nd August it begun alternating IP addresses with, then sticking to, This is always the second router/server within Telecom/Xtra's network and that node continues to drop packets and have sporadic high pings at an ever increasing frequency.

Every time I phone the help desk they try to give me a new case number, so the issue gets treated as a different problem each time. I have insisted during the last 6 calls that the same case number be used, as the problem I reported 3 months ago has not been rectified. In fact it doesn't even appear to have been looked at. At one help desk operator's request, I emailed some tracert results to the ADSL helpdesk on 16th of this month. The only response I have received is an auto-reply.

Whereas browsing and email use the TCP/IP protocol, most MMO (Massively Multiplayer On-line) games use the UDP protocol which is much more adversely affected by packet loss. I have had to cancel subscriptions to all the MMO games I have been playing as the high amounts of packet loss within the Telecom/Xtra network has made it impossible to play them. I was constantly stalling, getting packet loss messages, and regularly dropped from servers due to connection time-outs. Currently even attempting to play browser-based games is often frustrating. I am also no longer able to use other time-critical applications such as VOIP communications.

It appears that Xtra have been signing up so many new customers that their routers/servers are groaning under the increased load and can no longer cope. Why have they not invested at least some of the funds these new subscribers provide into scaling up the existing network? Instead, all of us who pay for the DSL service have to watch the quality of that service deteriorate as Telecom/Xtra continue to increase the contention ratios on their network. A little over a year ago Telecom were accused of having DSL contention ratios of 148:1. They denied that and stated the average ratio across all plans was 33:1. Yeah, right! Perhaps that isn't the issue. It could be that the interleaving (pdf) has failed or been disabled in the DSLAM I connect to, although I think this is less likely as I have not been able to detect any speed changes caused by resynchronising. I doubt I will ever find out as this communications company doesn't seem able or willing to communicate with me.

Telecom/Xtra's response appears to be "Too many people have signed up, too bad" and "If you don't like it, go to another ISP" (which would just add a middle-man between me and Telecom as those other ISPs are currently using the same equipment as Xtra). It is incredibly frustrating also to be told to read the Terms & Conditions (which have been altered since I began subscribing to the service) and to be repeatedly verbally informed that they "only guarantee browsing and email" when I can find no written statement to validate that claim. This is while Telecom/Xtra are still promoting DSL to "Play games online with opponents all over the world". Also, being told "You have more than one computer connected, we only support single-computer connections" is very disingenuous when the company actively promotes home networking on it's web site. All I ask is that the service I pay for is of a quality consistent with that when I began paying for it, as committed to in those same terms and conditions. A little honesty in the scripts provided to the company's representatives would be nice too!

So, I have decided to put the results of the tests I have conducted (and continue to) here so I can hopefully get someone to look at them on some of the many occasions I (am no doubt doomed to) call the help desk again. Perhaps I may eventually be able to convince Telecom/Xtra that I shouldn't have to feel like I am paying for a delivery service that randomly throws away up to 86.46% of all the items that are supposed to be delivered to or from me.


Telecom Xtra Broadband: They are still losing my data!

40% packet loss at  

Benchmark  Breakdown
Run ID  A4S-P4V3 on Saturday, 18 August 2007 at 3:27:59 p.m.
Platform Compliance  Win32 x86
IP Address
Average Latency  37ms
Min/Max Latency  33ms / 39ms
Speed  30kB/s (246kbits/s)
Packet Loss  40%

From Intel WinXP PC connected directly to modem.


Telecom Xtra Broadband: Yet another month of the same crap!

Phoned the broadband helpdesk again yesterday to report that the problem with packet loss at their IP is continuing and requesting it be rectified. After being put on hold for 30 minutes then transferred to the wrong person, phoning again and being patronised by a script-reading idiot who refused to listen, terminating that call and phoning again, I eventually managed to find someone who claimed to be willing to try and help. I emailed (again) some screen-shots of tracerts (copies of which are on the TRACERTs page). Not holding my breath.

A few tips for helpdesk operators:

I have reformatted and reinstalled my operating system. Unable to play the MMOs that I want to with my American and European friends because of the unreliability of Telecom/Xtra Broadband, I purchased Valve's Orange Box so I could play Half-life 2: Death Match & Team Fortress 2 on local & Australian servers. Unfortunately, that too has been a farcical education in futility. Constant stutters, freezes, connection problems and occasional complete disconnections are creating in me an increasing level of frustration and anger. Have I wasted my money buying another game I can't play because Telecom/Xtra can't provide me with a reliable broadband service for the money I pay them every month?


Telecom Xtra Broadband: See for yourself.

Here's a video example of what my gaming experience is like and has been for more than six months. (9 minutes, 60 MB .wmv)

   ^ Click "Play" button to start embedded video or,

Open with Windows Media Player (or right-click this link and select "Save Target As" to download and save video).


Telecom Xtra Broadband: My 9th month riding the bullshit-go-round.

Another weekend of being unable to use my DSL connection to play games is upon me. I have tried everything I can think of to get Telecom/Xtra helpdesk to address the problem even resorting on two occasions to severe verbal obscenities (if you treat me like a fool I reserve the right to behave as one) which gave me a temporary release of tension but was, regrettably, no more effective than the use of calm logic or even pleading for help.

It is at least 9 months since I first reported this problem to Telecom/Xtra broadband helpdesk. Why they refuse to believe that there may be a problem with their hardware is beyond me. They should have investigated the issue when it was first reported as intermittent instead of letting it get to this stage. The TRACERTS page now has 4 months of data pointing to packet loss within their networks.

I phoned again Friday and actually received several return calls. Unfortunately the long and the short of it was that my hardware is to blame and I should try a new network card or connection lead. I wonder which of the 5 network cards in four computers I have tested with so far should be changed? When I asked that question I was fed the line that it is a timing (I assume he meant latency or high ping) issue within (who it seems "were in breach of their contract relating to timings" - was my data helpful in proving that?). Sure, the pings have been high at peak times but the packet loss has been consistently present at almost all times. When I refused to accept that the issue had been resolved as a "timing issue" and asked that it be escalated to a superior, the call was terminated by the helpdesk operator who stated he was the most senior person there, and informed me that a Team Leader will phone me on Monday. We will see. 

If, as alleged, the DSLAM I am connecting through doesn't have the facility to be tested for packet loss and I am (allegedly) the only customer with this problem, and it must therefore be my hardware at fault, why is the packet loss occurring only after the DSLAM? Could the DSLAM be mangling my packets? Could the ("hundreds of") other customers connected through the same DSLAM be totally unaware that there is a problem because; 
A: They don't use their connections for gaming, only browsing, email, watching videos?
B: Those that do play online games are unaware that the issues they are having are due to packet loss and blame the game(s) that they play for any of the symptoms, or think their computers are at fault?

I don't believe the assertions that is not part of Telecom/Xtra's network. The preliminary searches I have conducted seem to point to Telecom NZ LTD being the owner of that network. Further research will hopefully reveal all the facts and I will place them on the Ownership page.

From AMD Win98 PC.


It's Monday night and, as expected, no phone call today. Why do I have trouble believing anything I am told by these people?

Here is a screenshot of a just-completed tracert (from my laptop) to a New Zealand Team Fortress 2 server. 

From Intel Laptop PC.

Notice the packet loss at the DSLAM and high latency at the node after that?

Having spent thousands on hardware and software about all I can use it for on this DSL connection now is to do tracerts, email, and slowly browse the 'net. My gaming rig runs better on dial-up. The latency may be slightly higher during "off-peak" but at least I don't get glued to the spot every few minutes or disconnected entirely from game servers. During "peak" times dial-up gives pings of 160ms -360ms, while this DSL connection's pings to the same servers are 320ms to 520ms with increased packet loss. My broadband connection sometimes has pings of above 200ms on Telecom/Xtra's own game servers! Shame, Telecom/Xtra broadband was perfectly reliable and consistent for quite a long time before this. Now, however, it is a faulty product which fails to work as described, and seems a complete waste of 5.25% of my meagre net income.


Having just about given up all hope of receiving help or information from the Xtra Broadband Helpdesk, I phoned Telecom to report a network fault. If I understand the conversation I just had correctly, the Telecom Advanced Broadband Team have acknowledged there is a fault with the network (DSLAM?) but claim there is nothing they can to fix it. How about replacing the faulty equipment, after all for months now that is what they have been trying to tell me I should do!

From Telecom's complaint form...

"Future commitment under the Customer Complaints Code

By 30 November 2007, the way we respond to you will be governed by the new Customer Complaints Code. To find out more about the Customer Complaints Code please visit"

From Telecommunications Carriers’ Forum Customer Service Standards...

"Scheme Members will fix network faults in their network at no charge to the Customer, except in instances where the Customer has caused or contributed to the fault."

Perhaps I should point that out if/when I get the (latest promised) phone call from the Manager/Team Leader today. Then again, Telecom will probably say I broke their DSLAM and/or get the Customer Service Standards rewritten.

Once again, the promised phone call from Manager/Team leader did not eventuate.


Telecom/Xtra's Team Fortress 2 servers are frequently unplayable. Some people attempting to play on them are experiencing latency problems and voicing their dismay in the chat channels. No wonder, with lag spikes of up to 1.4 seconds to contend with as shown in this trace.

From AMD Win98 PC.

At 3:30 pm on most weekdays my in-game pings begin to climb and are usually double by 4:00 pm. Beyond 5:00pm they are usually treble or quadruple. Then, and on weekends, I sometimes get pings in excess of 200ms on Telecom/Xtra's own game servers. To put that into context, I can get similar pings to West-Coast U.S.A. servers using a dial-up connection. These latency issues combined with the packet loss give me reason to believe Telecom/Xtra have contention ratios way beyond what would be considered reasonable and have overloaded their network to the point where the hardware is no longer able to cope with the loads placed upon it. Is it possible that the DSLAM I connect to has a permanent fault and is mangling or dropping packets at an unacceptable rate? Have Telecom failed to scale up their networks thereby diluting the quality of service provided to both existing and new broadband customers? Broadband? Hah! The quality of this $50/month service is worse than $10/month dial-up, unless you want to restrict your usage to times when it is unused by the majority (and play games on empty servers).


After 9 months of watching this situation develop and trying to communicate my concerns and get answers, I am fed up with being dealt to with denial and disinformation. Two weeks ago (and again last Wednesday) I was told I would receive a phone call from a manager or team leader to discuss the situation with me. No such call has been made.


Towards the end of last week I thought I noticed a slight improvement, mainly a speed increase of approximately 50%. however, over the weekend the usual service resumed. I was experiencing the usual symptoms while trying to play on local servers, getting disconnected from those servers, and even lost ADSL line sync on one occasion.

I have uploaded two more videos of Team Fortress 2.

tf2_xtra-server.wmv (64 MB, 0:08:23)  Saturday, October 13, 2007, 3:00 PM.
Shows problems with Telecom/Xtra DSL playing Team Fortress 2 on Telecom/Xtra's own servers. Packet-loss, fluctuating pings, cause stutters and warping.

tf2-nz_071022.wmv (147 MB, 0:19:12) Monday  October 22, 2007, 11:00 AM. (Labour Day)
Shows problems with Telecom/Xtra DSL playing Team Fortress 2 on a New Zealand server ( Packet-loss causing freezes, stutters and warping.


Phoned the helpdesk again. Pointed out that a year ago I was frequently running two Neocron2 game accounts on separate computers connected simultaneously to a server in Germany at the same time as talking to 10 -20 friends in America. and Europe on Ventrilo, every weekend without problems. Now I can't connect a single game account to local New Zealand servers in mid-afternoon during a weekday without having problems and I can't use in-game voice communications even on those same local servers.

Not for the first time, I also asked about the significance of the FAILs in this test. As usual, I didn't get an answer (DNS is


Some good news: I received a phone call from a member of the Telecom/Extra Advanced Broadband Team on Friday and some of my questions were answered (namely the FAILs in the above test are irrelevant). I was also told that my connection would be transferred to a different DSLAM over the weekend, which duly happened early on Saturday afternoon. I was informed by the technician completing the task that my "port was changed from one of the oldest to one of the newest, DSL2+ capable ports." It is great to be getting some feedback.

The not-so-good news: The problem still exists with packet loss causing stutters and freezes in on-line games. The usual router seems to still be the culprit, namely [] (as mentioned at the top of this page on August 7th). Oh well, I guess that we have eliminated the DSLAM as being the cause of the problem?

Some intriguing results from running (as recommended by an Xtra Helpdesk operator several months ago) conducted after the port change.


The latency is higher to Wellington than either Australia or the U.S.A.. The download speed is lower from Wellington than either Australia or the U.S.A. The upload speed is faster to Australia than Wellington. I am not complaining about the speeds (that has never been my issue) but can't help but wonder if these results being almost opposite to what I would expect are evidence of excessive congestion and/or packet loss within Telecom's networks.


Telecom Xtra Broadband: Has 10 months of complaining started to get some results?

I don't know if it is purely the change to a different DSLAM and if that actually means a lower contention ratio for my connection, but I thought that there had been some improvement over the past week. While I have still been experiencing noticeable stuttering and occasional warping, I have not had any "connection problem" notices in-game nor any disconnections from servers.  I have been playing mainly on New Zealand servers during peak times and some Australian ones during off-peak, but all attempts at playing on servers in America or elsewhere prove futile. [Edit: At 3:30pm today Australian servers became unplayable due to the packet loss and now, at 4:30pm I am getting glued to the spot and stuttering while trying to play on NZ servers so, it is as shitty as ever.] As discussed with the Telecom/Extra Advanced Broadband Team member during a couple of (much appreciated) follow-up calls, even connections to Telecom/Xtra's own Team Fortress 2 servers were prone to packet loss. Unfortunately on Sunday November 4th those servers were taken down (3 weeks early), and indeed the entire "Xtra Games" section of their web site is to be discontinued.

"Closure Of Xtra Games

Unfortunately due to declining user numbers the Xtra Games and the Xtra Games Servers will be closing on 21 November."

I can't help but wonder if the "declining user numbers" is a result of their service becoming useless for gaming!

xtra-tf2_071103.wmv (35 MB, 0:02:20) Saturday  November 3, 2007, 8:00 PM.
Shows stuttering while playing Team Fortress 2 on a Telecom/Xtra DSL connection to a Telecom/Xtra server on a Saturday night

I have just emailed the adsl_helpdesk a text file of tracerts conducted over the last few days, as requested by  the Telecom/Xtra Advanced Broadband Team member last week and I look forward to his call this evening. I should  ask about accounting, because it seems my data usage has increased although my actual gaming time has decreased. I am wondering if all packets are counted at the DSLAM and, therefore, if the 4th hop keeps dropping them causing retransmits (up to 300% in some cases), when uploading a 60MB file is it counting as 180MB of my data allowance? Or perhaps Team Fortress 2 transfers three times as much data as having two Neocron2 clients and Ventrilo running?

SQWERT.NET has had it's first visitor sign the Guest book. 
Nick, from the North Shore, has included the results of a WinMTR test to a World of Warcraft game server which shows 65% packet loss at the same router I have been banging on about all this time ( Thank you Nick, I have informed the Telecom/Xtra Advanced Broadband Team that you have also posted to this site further evidence of packet loss. Unfortunately they are not willing to accept it from me and informed me that individual customers should submit the tracerts themselves to for further investigation. I encourage you (and any other Xtra DSL subscribers with evidence of this problem) to do so.


Telecom Xtra Broadband: Customers say "I can't believe it's not dial-up!"

Unable to play at all today, even on local NZ game servers, because the packet loss is nailing me to the spot every 30 seconds, I decided to look through some NZ web sites and forums to see if any other Telecom/Xtra Broadband customers are unhappy. Yes, there are a lot out there who are and I can't help but wonder how many of them are having problems even browsing New Zealand web sites like I am today. I am getting "page not found" and "DNS 404" errors, pages are taking several minutes to load. What a crock of shit Telecom's broadband network is. More of us are realising just how much we have been lied to.

Here, look at these two screenshots...

Tracert to a NZ TF2 server showing latency at hop #4 which is 8 times what it should be.


Tracert to Telstra which shows packet loss at 3 nodes within Telecom's network.

I am so frustrated and angry that I find myself  beginning to struggle against an increasing urge to commit an act of  violence.


Telecom Xtra Broadband: The only solution to this customer's problems.

Having lost all faith in Telecom's intention or ability to actually do anything to rectify the ever-increasing crappiness of their network and, after coming to the conclusion that they were charging me up to four times for data transmitted, I bit the bullet and followed some sound advice. I voted with my wallet and chose another broadband ISP. This statement helped me chose. At 10am Monday morning I phoned that ISP and by 4:30pm the same day I was churned to them and am now enjoying using a low-latency, high speed, packet loss-free service. It is now Wednesday afternoon and I have not yet had one single instance of packet loss while playing games. Web pages load fast and I can upload files without any segments retransmitted. I will run some tracerts through to Sunday and record them in this xnet text file which can be compared to the xtra text file I emailed to Telecom's adsl_helpdesk.


Conclusion: Telecom Xtra Bullshit, it is narrowband when you most want broadband.

In 2006 telecom recorded  expenses of  NZ$34,000,000 to settle competition issues, a Commerce Commission determination, and fair Trading act issues. In that same year Telecom had revenue of NZ$336,000,000 from broadband in New Zealand, claiming to have 435,000 broadband connections. Having subscribed to Telecom's broadband for almost 3 years, customer loyalty meant nothing to them when their product degraded to the point that it was worse than dial-up and when told what & where the problem was they chose denial and lies as the best method to deal with it. The corporation, through it's subsidiaries continues to falsely advertise the product's capabilities and publish statements containing hollow promises. They have failed to upgrade the backbone that they built to service NZ ISPs (only 6 of which seem at all interested in using).

Here's how I see it: A corporation witch is a monopoly owning the infrastructure of supply spends big on advertising campaigns and gets many more customers but fails to reinvest in expanding the upstream supply chain which it also owns. Imagine a company selling water. It is the only company allowed to provide a pipe to your house. 1 of every 10 houses has a pipe and the company advertises heavily and gets another 3 houses of every 10 to pay for water from them. Unfortunately, the larger pipe from the reservoir to the city cannot handle the increased demand and customers discover that when they turn their tap on nothing comes out but air, especially at times when they most need to use the water (peak times). When customers complain to the company, representatives tell them "Read the contract, we don't guarantee to supply H20, we only guarantee to supply hydrogen and oxygen - both of which are contained in air" and "There is no problem - it must be something wrong with your shower/kettle/glass".

Telecom, boycott the bastards! I will not be buying another product from that company!