[Linux-aus] telstra (adsl) broadband and support for linux (or lack thereof)

Les Bell lesbell at lesbell.com.au
Fri Feb 7 16:44:01 UTC 2003

Tony Nugent <tony at linuxworks.com wrote:

So, am I alone with my frustrations?

You are not alone, although my frustrations are slightly different.

Perhaps I should change ISPs... any recommendations?  I'd really
like a permanent (or even leased) IP, but I'd have to pay around
five times as much for having that "privilege".  (No, not for public
hosting purposes... that would be abuse of the service).

Just ten days ago, Senator Alston was complaining about how the US-centric
nature of the Internet allows US-based ISP's to charge Telstra and other
Australian ISP's for taking their traffic rather than just peering. All
well and good, but the fact is that the bulk of the web traffic is from the
US to here, and the reason for that is the lack of Australian content  -
and the reason for *that*, in turn, is the fact that our government's
entire Internet strategy is to create a nation of Internet consumers and
not producers. You can thank the NOIE for that - a bunch of bureaucratic
empire-builders with not one single clue, I'm afraid. The Australian
Computer Society Community Affairs Board warned of exactly this in a
submission three years ago, but the NOIE gets paid by the Minister, and so
gets his ear.

Unfortunately, the govt and NOIE view the Internet as a medium for
distribution of entertainment, and broadband is seen as a major hurdle in
getting that going. This attitude is encouraged by Microsoft, ECorp and
even Telstra itself, which would love to be in the "content" business -
hence the speculation a few months ago that Telstra might buy PBL. Nobody
seems to realise that *if* we really are The Clever Coutnry, we have a
whole community of small operators who could produce all kinds of content -
only it's uneconomical to do so. As a result, we have become a nation of
Joe Sixpack's, with our Windows PC's hooked up to cable modems to allow
faster access to pr0n, NineMSN and a few other sites - what a buddy of mine
calls "the multimedia teat". So much for "The Clever Country" - all
downloads, and no uploads.

You might want to bend Lindsay Tanner's ("Tanner, Lindsay (MP)"
<Lindsay.Tanner.MP at aph.gov.au>) ear about some of this, as well as Senator
Kate Lundy (details at http://www.katelundy.com.au/ ). I corresponded with
both of them last year about some of this, though I doubt I was able to
make much impression. I remember Barry Jones remarking that politicians
won't act upon a single submission to the relevant minister - but if *all*
the MP's or Senators start to hear from PO'ed constituents, then they
compare notes in the corridors of Parliament House and conclude that
something is up. There might be a role for LA and the LUG's in coordinating
a grass-roots campaign in this area.

When I was somewhat rudely evicted from my expensive but reliable ISDN
setup mid-last year (a tale in itself, which I won't bore you with here), I
had to find a new home in a hurry and wound up with Telstra ADSL. However,
a couple of people independently suggested that TPG Internet
(http://www.tpgi.com.au/) were pretty reasonable, and could even provide a
permanent IP address and maybe even a /29. Too late for me, but it might
help you. . .

W.r.t. patronising help desk operators, however, this is not unique to
Telstra. I've had similar experiences with Westpac online banking, when
I've tried to point out security and compatibility issues. At the first
indication that I might know what I was talking about, I was told that it
was *my* problem (and I should just use Internet Explorer and Get Over It).
In fact, the main reason I got the CISSP designation was so that I could be
more authoritative in my discussions with the Reserve Bank about Westpac's
online banking problems. . .<g>

I *hate* the patronising "Oh, you're a
technician/hacker/enthusiast/propeller-head who doesn't see the big
picture" attitude one sometimes encounters from clueless managers and their
completely non-technical droids. I think they resent us because they can't
program their VCR's and feel inadequate or something. (Sorry, felt the need
to vent there <g>).


--- Les Bell, CISSP

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