Telecom alleged to have given $20,000 DSL refund

A user of Telecom's JetStream DSL service is claiming to have been refunded $20,000 by the telco because of inadequacies of the service.

A user of Telecom’s JetStream DSL service is claiming to have been refunded $20,000 by the telco because of inadequacies of the service.

A network specialist claims to have extracted the refund from Telecom for a client who was billed for wasted JetStream traffic when “micro-outages” cut off an unfinished session and required work to be done again.

By installing a firewall with appropriate monitoring, the network specialist, who does not want his name disclosed, showed outages to have occurred at the pertinent times.

Confronted with that evidence by the client, Telecom backed down on charges it was trying to levy. No resort to the courts has been necessary, the source says. “Most Telecom reps have a good understanding of Telecom’s liability under their own terms and conditions, which say Telecom is liable if it provides a faulty service.”

Telecom spokesman Andrew Bristol, after consulting with technical and legal staff last week, says no one can recall a case involving an amount of $20,000 in connection with the JetStream service. “Telecom has credited one JetStream customer a few hundred dollars. Telecom does this from time to time in a gesture of goodwill when it feels it has not met appropriate service standards,” Bristol says.

The problem, which critics blame on Telecom’s use of the routing information protocol (RIP), does not originate with JetStream, the network specialist says. “It is actually caused by Telecom tweaking RIP for co-existence with ISDN users — and Telecom has a lot of corporate ISDN users,” he says.

“Telecom has a monopoly on the IPNet technology which provides the route between the DSL user and his/her internet service provider, and the faults are occurring in the IPNet part of the network. An ISP can’t even get close to a DSL user without using a tonne of other Telecom infrastructure that is proving very unreliable.”

The Australian Competiton and Consumer Commission, he notes, has recently called Telstra to task over its control of DSL. He believes New Zealand’s Commerce Commission should become involved over Telecom’s analogous position.

Our source says he solves client problems by taking them off the FastIP service, which was originally designed for dial-up services, notably ISDN, and putting them on FastIP Direct, where the RIP timers are more in sympathy with JetStream traffic. FastIP Direct takes the traffic straight into Telecom’s network, without involving the ISP’s network. The problem pertains only to clients with static IP numbers, because of differences in the routing approach between those and dynamic IP numbers.

Telecom, meanwhile, has for the first time publicly admitted that users are having problems, but contends it is due to their inappropriate use of DSL.

“JetStream is designed to provide fast internet access over the public internet, and is configured appropriately,” says Bristol in an emailed statement. “Some JetStream customers who have static IP addresses and are operating virtual private networks over the JetStream service have recently been experiencing micro-outages.

“Telecom recommends that customers who want to operate a virtual private network in a secure environment use one of our IP.Networking services. IP.Networking services are managed with defined service levels.”

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