Telecom Xtra Broadband:
Are we victims of it's success or is it just a tight-fisted
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I have been a subscriber of xtra.co.nz 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
off and try again the next day. Sometimes it would be better in the
other times I would have to wait until the evening.
Three months ago I phoned the help desk to inform them that I
that my problem seem to be caused by packet loss within their network
it was getting more persistent. The problems would be worse on weekends
get slightly better on Mondays (but not back to the level it was before
weekend). This has continued to the point where the DSL service I get
worse than dial-up. Even browsing is impossible from time to time (not
"peak" times either). IP address 22.214.171.124 was dropping packets
and continued to do so when on the 20th of July that hop was
126.96.36.199. On 2nd August it begun alternating IP addresses with,
sticking to, 188.8.131.52. 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
the last 6 calls that the same case number be used, as the problem I
months ago has not been rectified. In fact it doesn't even appear to
looked at. At one help desk operator's request, I emailed some tracert
to the ADSL helpdesk on 16th of this month. The only response I have
Whereas browsing and email use the TCP/IP protocol, most MMO
Multiplayer On-line) games use the UDP protocol which is much more
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
made it impossible to play them. I was constantly stalling, getting
packet loss messages, and regularly dropped from servers due to
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
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
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
little over a year ago Telecom were accused
of having DSL contention ratios of 148:1. They denied that and stated
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
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
would just add a middle-man between me and Telecom as those other ISPs
currently using the same equipment as Xtra). It is incredibly
also to be told to read the Terms &
Conditions (which have been altered since I began subscribing to the
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
have more than one computer connected, we only support single-computer
connections" is very disingenuous
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
it, as committed
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.
may eventually be able to convince Telecom/Xtra that I shouldn't have
like I am paying for a delivery service that randomly throws away up to
of all the
items that are supposed to be delivered to or from me.
Broadband: They are still losing my data!
40% packet loss at 184.108.40.206
|| A4S-P4V3 on Saturday, 18
August 2007 at 3:27:59 p.m.
|| Win32 x86
|| 33ms / 39ms
|| 30kB/s (246kbits/s)
From Intel WinXP PC connected
directly to modem.
Broadband: Yet another month of the same crap!
- September 22, 2007 11:15am
Phoned the broadband helpdesk again yesterday to report that
the problem with
packet loss at their IP 220.127.116.11 is continuing and requesting it
rectified. After being put on hold for 30 minutes then transferred to
person, phoning again and being patronised by a script-reading idiot
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)
screen-shots of tracerts (copies of which are on the TRACERTs page).
A few tips for helpdesk operators:
- Don't adopt a patronising attitude towards your customers,
they may have as much knowledge as you do.
- Contrary to what your script or company policy may dictate,
the problem will not always be caused by the customer's equipment.
Insisting that the customer reconfigure, reinstall, or generally screw
up their settings at your whim is not well received after the 3rd or
4th time the customer has heard and followed that line of bullshit.
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.
stutters, freezes, connection problems and occasional complete
are creating in me an increasing level of frustration and anger. Have I
my money buying another game I can't play because Telecom/Xtra can't
with a reliable broadband service for the money I pay them every month?
Broadband: See for yourself.
- September 27, 2007 4:30pm
Here's a video example of what my gaming experience is like
and has been for
more than six months. (9 minutes, 60 MB