Tas govt wrings TPG 'review' from internet slowdown

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Tas govt wrings TPG 'review' from internet slowdown

Minister intervenes to try to force ISPs to act.

The Tasmanian government has secured a commitment from TPG to “review” its Bass Strait cable capacity for brands including iiNet and Internode as major internet access issues dragged into a second day.

IT minister Michael Ferguson said he had “spoken to TPG senior management” about the ongoing connectivity issues, which had reduced many fixed line services to dial-up speeds.

The issues are the result of the shutdown of the Basslink data cable for repairs.

While the need to shut the cable down has been known for some time, it appeared some ISPs had not provisioned enough alternate bandwidth on Telstra-owned cables to cope, despite meetings with government that were aimed at shoring up contingency plans.

Ferguson said today he had been assured by TPG senior management that they were “aware of the issues" impacting iiNet and Internode customers, and that they would "continue to expand their use of the ample Telstra capability” available between Tasmania and the mainland.

“TPG has undertaken to review the situation with a view to purchasing additional capacity from Telstra to adequately service their Tasmanian customers,” he said.

Digital Tasmania spokesman Andrew Connor said that TPG-owned brands like iiNet and Internode accounted for between 30 percent and 40 percent of all Tasmanian internet users.

His own organisation wasn’t immune from the issues, noting it “took us about 10 attempts to upload” a PDF file of his media statement to Dropbox.

Connor said that as fixed line services slowed to a crawl yesterday, “alternate services became congested as consumers attempted to use … mobile 3G/4G in order to stay connected” to the internet.

He also speculated that ISPs caught short of Bass Strait capacity were looking to “intermediaries … rather than buying directly from Telstra”.

Outage advisories issued at the close of business Friday had not been updated by Saturday evening, and customers flooded internet forums continuing to seek information on non-TPG service alternatives.

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