It's raining it's pouring and nothings bloody working




Rain in particular was a recurring theme in many comments. For people with ADSL, ‘rain’ was mentioned 63 times. Extreme heat also caused people’s connections to either drop out or cease totally, requiring a call to Telstra. Considering the amount of extreme weather this country experiences (in particular drought and flooding), this should be paramount to any decision-making in regard to what infrastructure would work best for which location, as well as ensuring what is currently in use has not already been irreparably damaged. In some cases like the below, it is not just the internet but the phone line as well, making small business very difficult:

Albany Creek, Queensland stats: ADSL - MyBroadband 12.12Mbps - Reality 5.98Mbps "Try running a small business from home when the faulty copper wire connection keeps failing after every moderate fall of rain. Phone line quality impossible, internet experiences problems and we can never consider video for Skype. Even voice Skype connections are often poor"

Glenbrook, New South Wales stats: ADSL - MyBroadband 7.08Mbps - Reality 3.4Mbps "I have never seen speeds about 4Mbps where I live. I have excellent equipment and service with iiNet. Everytime it rains heavily my speeds get slower. When the temperature breaks 35 degrees my Internet stops working."

Recommendation 1: The Committee includes the impact of weather and region specific environmental factors during any discussion about broadband.

My Broadband Methodology

It is rather concerning that as we were working on this submission we saw the following tweet from Josh Taylor, Senior Journalist for ZDNet tweeting during Senate Estimates (Tuesday morning, 25 Feb 2014) :
We sincerely hoped this was not the case. Our survey results point to weather impacting on people's use broadband. Could they really have ignored the effect of weather in their analysis?
Considering the purpose of the MyBroadband site is to get a realistic picture of the current network and give priority to the communities most in need. It would stand to reason that weather extremes, which affect the whole nation, should be taken into account when planning a National Broadband Network. So we looked at the MyBroadband FAQ’s and found this in the methodology section:
“Other factors that impact on an end user’s experience and perception of quality, such as reliability, price, value-added components to the service, weather events and mobility are also not considered in the analysis.” So the methodology underpinning the review is excluding the impact of weather events? Weren’t there major floods in QLD not that long ago?
In many cases, as we have found from the survey comments, weather may not even need to be extreme. A few drops of rain are enough to stop phones and the internet. This has ramifications for both homes and small businesses with the likes of EFTPOS machines, online bookings, or kids doing homework all needing reliable broadband. In fact, to have something so important stop working for so many people, due to a much needed drop of rain, is a serious issue.

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