NBNCo Is Investigating Problems With Copper

NBNCo Is Investigating Problems With Copper
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With the rollout of the NBN progressing, there have been plenty of people complaining about poor performance after being switched. Given many people were previously connected to ADSL that’s a surprise. My experience of ADSL is that performance is highly variable. But with the ACCC interested in speeds and how they are measured, NBNCo is taking a proactive step by looking at the quality of the copper in people’s homes.

Back in April, we reported on how the ACCC might go about validating the promises made by RSPs when it comes to network performance.

Networks are only as fast and reliable as the weakest link so it makes sense for NBNCo to take a proactive step in diagnosing issues that can hamper performance.

While issues like CVC are significant, local issues can also be a factor. And one of those might be the quality of the copper at your premises.

Documents made public recently [PDF link] reveal that NBNCo will begin testing the quality of copper leading into some premises in order to ascertain whether performance issues rest with the core network or the copper.

Of course, ditching the copper entirely might be a good idea but that ship has sailed.


  • It’s not just the 19th century copper technology, it’s the fact that for most Australians we’ll be sharing a bundle of bandwidth with neighbours who get their NBN off the same pole. It’s the most backward system imaginable and a national embarrassment.

  • The document itself fails to mention how the testing will be performed, but personally I would be confused if they did not systematically approach it using a TDR (Time Domain Reflection) Test per set of lines, It takes the gear about 20 seconds to build the profile on 1 line, and can be done at the ISP side,

    So you would have a few techs roll up in the ISP, probably late at night when most people are offline (makes a weird noise on telephones), pulse the line, store the results then move on to the next

    This is overlooking the fact that most ADSL modems and Cable modems have an ISP side interface that reports detailed info relating to the SNR and attenuation on each frequency band available to it. which when compared against the line length would highlight which properties needed to be looked at.

    • Tdr won’t work as you can’t see detail at the cust end from that distance. Many of the problems come from the star wiring, joins and extn cord cables run inside which dsl doesn’t like. Dsl works much better going to one socket only as the more sockets =more reflections and poss snr probs

  • regardless of the tech that ends up being used for the connection, providers have to be accountable for not delivering what they are selling. There’s no other industry where it would be acceptable – can you imagine buying “up to” a litre of milk?
    it’s a complete mess with no one overseeing it who either understands it from the consumer perspective or has the teeth to actually do anything about it.

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