Telstra copper at crisis point, endangers NBN, says union

It's just bad weather, says carrier

The Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) has called out Telstra's copper network, saying that this year's bad weather has left 20,000 lines out of service in NSW alone.

The number could be higher, if you believe reports from News Ltd that the number is over 41,000.

2015 hasn't been kind to Telstra, with thunderstorms and heavy rain occurring on a pretty much nationwide basis.

Interestingly, Telstra's own Mass Service Disruption notices currently put the number of services out-of-action until late February or early March even higher than the “leaked” document: 50,300 services in Queensland, NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and the ACT.

The CEPU accuses the carrier of “chronic underinvestment in network maintenance”.

The union's NSW/ACT Assistant Secretary Shane Murphy says “There are thousands of plastic bags holding cable joints together and thousands of cables laying bare with wires exposed in pits and manholes across the country”.

Telstra is offering its repair crews overtime to get over the problem, and as Vulture South has already reported, it's been flying crews around the country to trouble-spots. ®

Bootnote: At some point, it's become an article of faith that Telstra's copper network is “100 years old”, as the News Ltd report states, which is plain silly.

While it's true that the first telephone cables were laid back in the early 20th century, the cables in use in (say) 1915 will very rarely have survived until today.

Most of the network will have been laid since 1946, simply because the population has more or less tripled since then; two thirds of the households the network serves didn't exist even at the end of World War 2.

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