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EYE-BALL Opinion – Telstra Corp and their Bigpond service – again failing to respect their customers …


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– Telstra Corp and their Bigpond Service …
– again failing to respect their customers –
| Author: EYE-BALL Opinion | 7th Feb 2013 |

Asubject very close to my ‘growl’ barometer is my Bigpond Service – I have a download limit of 500gb a month and regularly use it and more.

Buzz around the internet chat rooms and in other tech media publications for some time now has been about the ongoing and failing legal challenges over piracy downloads.

EYE-BALL blogged about this very issue in Aug 2012 in a story titled –  “The Last Word on Copyright Piracy – News Ltd Chief shows ignorance” – it was a story about how technology advancement is way ahead of the way entertainment producers, artists, and broadcasters try to minimise losses to copyright income from their productions.

In that article the the following comment appeared:

.. At a keynote speech made by News Ltd CEO – Kim Williams – and delivered at the Australian International Movie Convention held at Jupiter’s Casino during the week – Mr Williams spoke on his perspective of how the digital age has aided and abetted the piracy industry.

The greatest medium of education and entertainment for thousands of years has been literature, fiction, non fiction, historical, biographical, educational, inspirational, or whatever else is your passion, you name it, you can find it in a library.  The best and most notable of authors throughout history were all happy to have their works stored and read free of charge by the global citizenship. Library copies are purchased in most cases – some original one-off collection pieces are donated – but by and large authors love to have their work(s) available through library reading… continues …

read full story here

The essence of the article was that through technology the buying of a movie video or DVD, a book, music, can all be done on-line and downloaded.

The method of sharing that entertainment medium in the past would have been physically giving the original copy to a friend or another third party – with the new age way of sharing through the internet and the download sites all around the world where that single copy can be shared – it is the entertainment industry that has to come up with a new way to derive its perceived copyright entitlements.

In recent days it has been released that Telstra is now a part of the entertainment industry fightback to reclaim what the courts around the world would not grant.

Telstra is trialing ‘slowed speeds’ for ‘Peer 2 Peer’ [P2P] downloads, and specifically targeting ISP addresses used to download those movies, music, software, TV shows and other downloads.  Read story below:

Telstra to clamp down on peer-to-peer

| Author: Ben Grubb | Date: Feb 5th, 2013 | Link to On-Line Story. |

Image Caption: Telstra’s Michael Lawrey mooted throttling peer-to-peer traffic in 2011. Photo: Eddie Jim

Telstra is planning to slow the speed at which its ADSL customers download content through peer-to-peer (P2P) networks in peak periods as part of a trial.

P2P networks are commonly used to download pirated material such as movies, music and video games.

Telstra confirmed the move in a statement after a source contacted Fairfax Media, publisher of this article, to say the telco planned to introduce throttling as a “trial” that was likely to become permanent and which required users to opt out if they didn’t want to take part in it.

The trial could begin as soon as this week, the source added.

The Telstra statement said it would be conducting on a “small number” of ADSL customers in Victoria a “limited trial of a range of technical options for better managing broadband internet performance for our customers during peak periods”.

One option being looked at was the shaping of specific services, including some peer-to-peer services, in certain circumstances and at certain times. The telco could shape such services using deep packet inspection (DPI) technology, which can identify the types of traffic flowing through a network and prioritise it accordingly.

“Once the trial is complete we will consider the results as part of our future network planning and product development activities,” the company said.

“The trial does not involve any monitoring or tracking of the sites customers visit and the findings we gather, including their feedback, are being collected in accordance with our privacy statement,” Telstra said.

The telco published a blog post explaining its trial after Fairfax Media published this story.

Critics of ISPs that interfere with P2P say it has many uses that aren’t illegal, such as downloading large files, and that it shouldn’t be interfered with. But most acknowledge it is primarily used for sharing pirated material.

Telstra’s plan to shape peer-to-peer network traffic was first mooted by the industry publication RCR Wireless in May 2011, when Telstra executive director Michael Lawrey threatened in a speech in Dublin to cut off “downloaders of illegal content”, whom he reportedly blamed for network congestion.

The RCR Wireless article no longer appears online but Mr Lawrey’s quotes remain on the Australian technology news website iTnews, which repeated them.

RCR Wireless quoted Mr Lawrey as saying Telstra would also take action against customers believed to be abusing the carrier’s fair-use policies.

“We probably haven’t even used our fair use small print yet. But we will,” Mr Lawrey reportedly said.

He was also reported to have said that if the carrier’s proposed system “cut out 80 per cent of the non-value adding traffic – good”.

According to the RCR Wireless article, about 80 per cent of Telstra’s data was chewed up by high bandwidth users.

“I’d rather not have those 80 per cent as customers. I’d rather someone else had them as customers,” Mr Lawrey reportedly said.

He did not say whether he was talking about fixed-line, smartphone customers or both.

Exetel, a smaller ISP than Telstra, used to throttle, or “deprioritise”, peer-to-peer traffic during peak periods. Its terms and conditions say it can still do so but a staff member last year said on its forum that it did not shape “any type of traffic”.

Illegal downloading via BitTorrent networks has been in slight decline for some time, though reports suggest there was a small rise in 2012. In part that would be fueled by faster internet services worldwide and a migration away from traditional television in which some consumers now exclusively watch TV content via the internet.

I live in an area that only has ADSL 1 capability – Telstra’s Top-Hat upgrade system introduced after the ‘copper network’ deal done with the NBN early 2012, originally planed to upgrade this area by the end of 2012. That upgrade was pulled in Aug 2012 along with another 108 planned ‘pillar box’ upgrades around Australia.  The upgrade was to make them ADSL 2 compliant.

Telstra/Bigpond have offered no reason for the pulling of the upgrade, other than an inside source advising that the obvious reason was revenue – ADSL 1 and ADSL 2 services are charged the same cost, infrastructure upgrade costs for these upgrades would have been revenue neutral.  The inside source stated Telstra made their  decision because any upgrade would not bring any new revenue – a sound business decision but not in line with their license and charter to assist rural and regional Australia have better internet services.

Before the NBN ‘copper network’ deal this area was due to have its exchange and ‘pillar boxes’ upgraded in early 2013.  Any future upgrade to internet delivery in this area is now aligned to the NBN rollout, and there is no planned upgrade scheduled in this area in its 3 year advance upgrade schedule.

The speed in this area is 8,000 kbps, as compared with 20,000 kbps for ADSL 2. – to read more on this see previous EYE-BALL story here … to find additional  Telstra/Bigpond stories at this site – type ‘Telstra‘ into the tag search at the top right margin of this post.

This’ slowed speed trial’ period as advised in the above story beggars belief – what right does Telstra have in acting on behalf of the entertainment industry to stop deemed pirate downloads?

Telstra is a public company – it has no Government oversight – it is in business to make money for its shareholders. Its customers purchase the Bigpond service and are lock into 24 month contracts with conditions attached.  Yes, there is the small print – but why would Telstra get into bed with the entertainment industry and agree to  ‘slow’ downloads from BitTorrent sites?

Their charter is regulated by any number of Teleco regulators, i.e. TIO, ACCC, ACMA, Fair Trading, etc …  Telstra should be focused on upgrading its rural and regional services to make them the equal of those available in metropolitan areas.

Why would they buy into a struggling global legal challenge by the entertainment industry trying to prevent what they see as BitTorrent piracy?

That supposed piracy as seen from a down-loader of movies, TV shows, music, and other available downloads – is an entitlement under their contract only governed by the download limits put in place by Telstra/Bigpond or other ISP.

Telstra can only slow these speeds on its existing ‘copper network’ as the NBN will be Government owned through the NBN. So why trial ‘slowed speeds’ for P2P downloads in the first place?

This story is a time bomb ticking away – and as an ever increasing number of the  population chooses to use downloads to watch their favorite TV shows ad free, new release and old movies all to their own timing,  the BitTorrent download is here to stay.   Technology has arrived, and to hold it back because the entertainment industry have been asleep at the wheel in protecting what they see as copyright entitlement is not the answer.

The ACCC should be investigating Telstra’s ‘slowed speed’ actions to ascertain what their motive is.   There will be a motive and money will be involved. Telstra are to be accountable to all Trade Practices conditions and if they are acting on behalf of a third party,  to try and accomplish something the Law Courts have not sanctioned – then they themselves are acting unlawfully.

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Have your say where it counts: – contact your Local Federal Representative via the links below and let them know how you feel about this, or any other topic that you feel strongly about – or you can just post a comment below and let off some steam.

Links to Australian Parliamentary Website – MP’s

The EYE-BALL Opinion …

  1. david the pragmatist
    February 7, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    1 I Agree Telstra should butt out.
    2. Don’t be surprised though that some of the regulators you mentioned go to the Telco’s and instruct them to do what Telstra see themselves doing as “good citizenship”. Unfortunately Telstra do not understand that they don’t understand and that it will cost them money. It is there customers they are punishing. It is a bit like a petrol company saying they will fine petrol users for pollution.
    3. There are other issues here and these need also to be put. An example would be one you quoted; ie watching TV downloads without adds. What if you take this to the “nth” degree and everyone did this, who will pay for the production and why would TV stations bother to show it in the first place.
    4. If the producers want to be proactive they will look at other iniatives. Ie as soon as a programme is downloadable the distributor has a high quality version that is immediately downloadable under there banner at a small fee which many will be happy to pay for. The ones that don’t will be at the least less than those now! The ones that continue to download would have a threat placed over them and a fining structure that could ramdomly be applied that again could act as a deterrent.


    Now I know these concepts disagree with your fundamental of the library example but as you point out the authors are happy to have their books available for that service. The producers of what ultimately will become pirated media do not!
    I am looking to get a balance in the process, one of the obvious being all Bit Torrent use past 3 months is totally free.

    PS I do not know how any telco can arbitrate between amateur or public free to air uploads vis a vis recently programmed TV or Movies.

  2. February 7, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    I’m not sure but one of your better resonses – whether it is because your comments are supportive, whether there is common ground, or if you had your happy pill before you responded …

    The Library – goes to the private DVD’s and VHS people lending to friends etc ,,, but even libraries have DVD’s as well.

    You picked up on the corporate malfesence by Telstra and that is the bigger concern.

  3. The Parable
    February 7, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Is this worth commenting upon?

    The age of Aquarius roughly started circa 2000. The age of Aquarius is the information age. Ruled by Mercury. Quick Silver, the messenger. Some believe it started in July 1969 when Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin walked upon the moon.

    Telstra was formed in the 1970’s out of the split of the old Postmaster General’s department, the boring part retained being Australia Post. Back then Telstra was named Telecom, was it Telecom Australia, or Australian Telecom? T was all over those aluminium and glass public phones. Good old copper technology. Very expensive, and a great monopoly.

    By 1990’s the era of public assets was very over. Privatisation was the absolute trend, a fashion. Paul Keating was going to sell it, but the ALP constituency wouldn’t let go. Not long after information age logics went feral. Mobile phones, silicon chips, RAM, kilobytes became megabytes then gigabytes being surpassed every second. If you could differentiate between silicon valley, silicon chips, and silicon cable I have got a job for you it is sorting out Y2K, and the starting salary is USD250K.

    Sad part is Telstra had no experience in operating in a deregulated market. What happens next is dizzying. Aussat became Optus, STC became ITT (didn’t really change, just to confuse), Start ups like One-Tel, went bankrupt, AAP split from Reuters and got bought out by NZ Telecom, and Australia was simply watching the cricket. How good is Warne, and McGrath, don’t forget Waugh (what is he good for), and Dizzy Gillespie and Hayden and so on. An absolute all time best team.

    In the USA a whole new stock indice called NASDAQ went ballistic. Microsoft turned the tables on IBM. Then come Dell. HP couldn’t cop the pace, Here comes Intel, Make way in the Dow 30 for Intel, but the tower of babel, the world trade centre came crashing down.

    Suddenly Verizon arrived on the scene, our white knight.

    The equity bankers could afford to continue the rise of the CDO’s (Collateralised Debt Obligations) and CDS (Credit Default Swaps). In all the confusion Telstra bought the head of McDonald’s, the Chief Clown himself, because he understood FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods). He would save the day. The Telstra mission statement was to maintain monopoly while using excess profits therefrom to build monopoly in growth markets.

    Sadly the clown himself was a dinosaur. Taco Bell bought Pizza Hut and Pepsico, Good ol’ American Queen became Warren Buffet’s favourite alpha stock, and the movie “Supersize Me” introduced triglycerides to normal parlance.

    Telstra could only watch on the sidelines trying to maintain their monopoly. Along came Ziggy! He resigned, and the future fund had exhausted their selling.

    Thankfully a new red headed clown arrived, and saved Telstra. Her government bought back the copper wire network. After a long line of second rate Chief Executives Telstra had finally found a way to maintain their high dividend yield, and continue to abuse their customers, basically not caring if their customers wanted to go elsewhere. The new pricing schedule for broadband again meant the telco’s didn’t need to compete on price.

    My gosh oligopolies work in retail and banking, so why shouldn’t telco’s be the same. They can compete on advertising and spin, just like government. The customer was born stupid, that is the way of life. If they buy the NBN, then surely shirley they will buy anything Telstra says about speed.

    Tune in next week, same time, same channel, for another exciting episode on the Mining Council Of Australia.

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