Please note is a work in progress last edited April 2020 Service Verification Tests
By clicking onto the condensed version of Telstra’s Falsified SVT Report you will be able to determine if my claims concerning the arbitration Service Verification Tests (SVT-process) are true or false.
On 24 June 1997, more than two years after the COT arbitrations were over (see pages 36 and 38 Senate – Parliament of Australia) an ex-Telstra employee and then-Whistle-blower, Lindsay White, that, while he was assessing the relevance of the technical information which had been requested by the COT claimants, he advised the Committee that:
“In the first induction – and I was one of the early ones, and probably the earliest in the Freehill’s (Telstra’s Lawyers) area – there were five complaints. They were Garms, Gill and Smith, and Dawson and Schorer. My induction briefing was that we – we being Telecom – had to stop these people to stop the floodgates being opened.”
Senator O’Chee – “What, stop them reasonably or stop them at all costs – or what?”
Mr White – “The words used to me in the early days were we had to stop these people at all costs”.
Senator Schacht – “Can you tell me who, at the induction briefing, said ‘stopped at all costs” (See Front Page Part One File No/6)
The It is clear from Mr White’s statement he identified me as one of the five COT claimants that Telstra had singled out to be ‘stopped at all costs’ from proving their my against Telstra’. One of the named Peter’s in this Senate Hansard is the same Peter who swore under oath, in his witness statement to the arbitrator that the service verification testing at my business premises had met all of AUSTEL’s specifications, when it is clear from Arbitrator File No/110 that Telstra’s own Customer Call Analysis System (CCAS) data for 29 September 1994 show NONE of the mandatory required 20-tests calls to each of my service lines 055 267 267, 055 267230 and 055 267260 were generated into my business and held open for the required period of 120-seconds for each completed call. In simple words, the SVT process at my business was not carried out according to the government communications regulatory mandatory specifications. Telstra is fully aware Peter (on page 38 of this Hansard) received advice from AUSTEL, on 11 October and 16 November 1994, regarding the Service Verification Tests (SVT) being grossly deficient. AUSTEL demanded Telstra advise what it intended doing about this deficiency see Front Page Part One File/No 24-A to 24-B. No second SVT tests ever took place at my business during my arbitration. However, in November 2002 (eight months after I sold the business) Telstra tested the business for the new owners, concluded the wiring, cabling and the Telstra-installed infrastructure was corroded and the whole holiday camp was rewired.
This is the same Peter who somehow had the power to direct a Government Regulator regarding who they could release this known faulty SVT information to and who they could not release it to see Arbitrator File No/98 even though the Government Regulator (AUSTEL) knew that the inaccurate SVT results were being used to support Telstra’s arbitration defence of at least four COT Cases claims (which included me)
Didn’t the statements made under oath by Lindsay White to the Senate Estimates Committee on 24 June 1997, mean anything at all regarding the advice he received from this Peter that we FIVE COT cases had to be stopped at all cost from proving issues such as the falsified arbitration SVT witness statements to the arbitrator (see Telstra’s Falsified SVT Report)?
Before the arbitrations began the arbitrator was provided with a report which was officially submitted to all parties involved in the first four arbitrations. It is clear from this 258-page report that no finding by the arbitrator can be brought down until proof that Telstra had fixed all of the ongoing telephone problems being experienced by these businesses. After all, what was the reason for an arbitration process if the claimant’s businesses were still affected by ongoing telephone problems?
In my case, regardless of the arbitrators own technical consultants advising him in their 30 April 1995 report their findings were still incomplete and they still needed extra weeks to investigate my ongoing telephone complaints that wording was removed from the draft and the draft still dated 30 April 1995 was submitted to the arbitration as the complete formal report.
The Government Report
The COT Cases Report report was officially submitted to all the parties involved in the first four arbitrations as well as various government ministers. It is clear from this 258-page report, and other similar statements made by AUSTEL, that no finding by the arbitrator could be brought down until Telstra had proved it had fixed all of the ongoing telephone problems being experienced by those entering settlement and/or arbitration. After all, what was the purpose of an arbitration process if the claimants’ businesses were still affected by the ongoing problems that brought them into the process in the first place?
Point 5.24 to 5.32 and 5.77 to 5.79 in this same report AUSTEL Evidence File 1-A the government states:
The Initial Settlements
Mr Smith, Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp
5,24 “As observed above, four of the original COT Cases pursuing compensation for inadequate service engaged in a process of negotiation with Telecom with AUSTEL acting as an “honest broker”
5.25 “Mr Smith was the first of the original COT Cases to reach an initial ‘settlement with Telecom. It is understood that he:
- identified the type of faults which his business had experienced indicated the incidences of the faults by way of statements by individuals who have sought unsuccessfully to contact him
- demonstrating a reduced effectiveness of advertising he had undertaken
- Mr Smith has informed AUSTEL that his major concern and stipulated condition at the time of ‘settlement’ was that his service should operate, and continue to operate, at normal standards”.
Telecom had knowledge of at least some of the faults impacting on Mr Smith’s business as well as having access to relevant fault records and monitoring data, It was also aware of the extent of problems and difficulties at its local exchange servicing his business”
5.26 “At the end of the process (December 1992) a “settlement figure” was agreed. It was a condition of the settlement that the amount paid by way of settlement was to remain confidential – a condition that applies in the other cases. Although the details of the settlement are confidential, Mr Smith has informed AUSTEL that his major concern and stipulated condition at the time of “settlement” was that his service should operate, and continue to operate, at normal network standards.”
Ms Hawkins, the Society Restaurant
5.27 “In the case of Mrs Hawkins, “settlement” was reached in January 1993. One of the conditions is understood to be that the business was to receive its telephone service via a modern digital exchange. The business has since been sold”
Mrs Garms and Mrs Gillan
5.28“The initial “settlement” process involving Mrs Gillan and Mrs Garms is outlined above. It is relevant to mention here that as a result of Telecom’s stance that settlement would only be made once the service was being supplied at normal network standards, both Mrs Gillan and Mrs Garms informed AUSTEL that they ceased reporting faults in order the hasten settlemnt process”
Mr Graham Schorer, Golden Messenger
5.29 “The fifth of the original COT Cases, Mr Schorer, had particular concerns about Telecom’s limited liability and the impact that the limitations was likely to have on any claim he might make for compensation arising from an inadequate telephone service.
5.30 ” Understandably the “original COT Cases”, having reached an initial “settlement” involving
- compensation for pass losses
- restoration of an adequate telephone service
expected that they might be able to resume their businesses afresh”
5,31 ” Unfortunately that did not prove to be the case, Soon after his initial “settlement” Mr Smith reported continuing problems to AUSTEL. Even prior to her settlement Mrs Garms reported continuing faults to AUSTEL. The decision by Mrs Garms and Mrs Gillan not to report faults to Telecom in order to hasten a financial settlement is noted above. Mr Schorer continued to report faults to AUSTEL throughout the period.”
5.32 “The fact that faults continued to impact upon the businesses in the period following the settlement shows a weakness in the procedures employed. That is a standard of service should have been established and signed off by each party. It is a necessary procedure of which all parties are now fully conscious and is dealt with elsewhere in this report. Its omission as far as the initial ‘settlement’ of the original COT Cases were concerned meant that there was continued dissatisfaction with the service provided without any steps being taken to rectify it. This inevitably led to a dissatisfaction with the initial ‘settlement’ and to further demands for compensation. To avoid this sort of problem in the future, AUSTEL is, in consultation with Telecom, developing –
- a standard of service against which telecom’s performance may be effectively measured;
- a relevant service quality verification test.
As stated above, that arbitration process was intended to ensure that any ongoing telecommunications problems were all fixed before the assessor/arbitrator handed down a finding. See points 1.18, 1.19 5.24 to 5.32, 5.77 and 5.78 in the official public AUSTEL COT Cases Report of 13 April 1994, which notes respectfully:
Settlement and agreement on standard of service
5.77: “As part of the general approach to settlement, Telecom sought AUSTEL’s agreement to, and assistance in, the development of a defined status for a telephone service. The intention is to obtain an agreement on the operational performance of the service against which the parties might sign off once a financial settlement has been finalised.”
5.78 AUSTEL’s findings are that-
- “When the initial settlements were reached with the original COT Cases the standard of service then applicable was not objectively established and there is reason to believe that difficult network faults may have continued to affect their services.”
- “an agreed standard of service, being developed in consultation with AUSTEL to be applied to any case subject to settlement is essential”.
5.79 AUSTEL recommends that:
“Telecom implement a proposed arbitration procedure along the lines outlined in paragraph 5.94 as soon as possible
Telecom specify how it will, under its proposed arbitration procedure, treat losses arising in periods during Telecom had statutory immunity from suit or contractually limited its liability
Telecom treat the COT type cases referred to it by AUSTEL in conformity with Telecom’s original proposed arbitration procedure and where appropriate the upper limit of that procedure should be waived of the claimants in those cases
Telecom in consultation with AUSTEL, develop by 1 May 1994
- a standard of service against which Telecom’s performance may be effectively measured
- a relevant service quality service test”
In the case of at least six of the Service Verification Tests conducted at the COT-cases businesses including my businesses, NO supervised testing of those service lines were carried out by anyone other than the defendants Telstra i.e. NO independent arbitration umpire was present when these tests used by Telstra as defence documents were in attendance when they were conducted. As shown in my own report titled > Telstra’s Falsified SVT Report, Telstra fabricated their Cape Bridgewater SVT arbitration testing.
What then transpired would have been laughable, if the results didn’t have such serious consequences. In my case, DMR Group Australia Pty Ltd was not available during the SVT process conducted on 29 September 1994, and thus Telstra was allowed to conduct the entire Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp SVT process without any sort of supervision from the arbitrator. In fact, even though DMR Group Australia Pty Ltd was named in the Arbitration Agreement as being the independent technical consultants for the first four arbitrations they never made themselves available for the whole entire arbitration process.
It was not until five months after Telstra had, claimed they had carried out the arbitration SVT process at my business premises, on 29 September 1994, that DMR Group Inc (in Canada) was commissioned (on 9 March 1995) as appointed technical arbitration consultants for the four COT arbitrations. So was this eleven-month delay in finding a technical consultant deliberately orchestrated perhaps, so that there was NO independent consultant around while Telstra fudged their SVT process? Paul Howell, of DMR Canada, did not fly over from Canada until the second week of April 1995.
PLEASE NOTE: Warwick Smith (the official Administrator for the COT arbitrations) advised the first four COT cases that, if they signed for the TIO-administered arbitration, then the Arbitration appointed technical consultants, DMR Group Australia Pty Ltd, would ensure that all arbitration technical issues, such as the arbitration Service Verification Tests (SVTs), would be conducted according to the Government communications regulatory requirements. After all, what was the point of the Government-endorsed arbitration process, if those requirements were not met?
Collusion at its worst
As has been shown in our Prologue Chapter One page there is more to this DMR Inc Canada technical reporting issue that the TIO and arbitrator want to acknowledge.
On 11 October and 16 November 1994 AUSTEL wrote to the Telstra arbitration liaison officer under the heading Service Verification Test Issues, outlining their concerns regarding the deficiencies in the testing process conducted at the Cape Bridgewater Holiday Camp (see Main Evidence File No/2). Telstra’s CCAS data for the day (29 September 1994) testing took place at my premises confirms that not one of the incoming tests connected to any of my three business lines met the regulator’s mandatory requirements.
Even though I advised Dr Hughes, between 2 October 1994 and 15 February 1995, that Telstra’s unsupervised SVT process at my premises was grossly deficient, he ignored my letters and the evidence attached to them as Chapters Three to Five in our Prologue page shows. Despite my pleas, and my technical consultant George Close’s evidence showing my business was suffering from a 49 per cent unavailable service on one phone line and a 52 per cent failure rate on the other, Dr Hughes still disallowed his technical consultants the time they required to investigate these still unaddressed faults (see Introduction File No/4-D).
Letters from AUSTEL to Telstra, prior to the SVT process, alerted Telstra that testing equipment set up at the local exchange and routed through to my business caused even more problems to my business (see Introduction File No/4-F), and yet they used the same equipment for their SVT process.
At point 212, in AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings they note:
“In view of the continuing nature of the fault reports and the level of testing undertaken by Telecom doubts are raised on the capability of the testing regime to locate the causes of faults being reported.”
No one, to date, has investigated why Warwick Smith (the administrator to my arbitration) did not ensure my rights, as a claimant, were protected when the defendant was allowed to perform its own arbitration Service Verification Testing on all of my three service lines.
At point 27 in one of Telstra’s arbitration witness statements (see False Witness Statement File No 13-A), this Telstra witness officially advised the arbitrator “The standard of service provided to Mr Smith was entirely consistent to be a very good level of service provided to other rural customers.”
This point 27 statement does NOT match the government communications regulatory own covert findings on their investigation into my complaints (see AUSTEL’s Adverse Findings), see points 10, 17, 18, 23, 37, 39, 40, 42, 44,46,47, 53, 56, 61, 62, 70, 75, 76, 79, 86, 87, 89, 91, 92, 93, 98, 100, 101, 104, 105, 109, 110, 111, 112, 118, 115, 129, 130, 136, 144, 151, 153, 158, 170, 173, 186, 187, 188, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211 and 212.
Just as important is, why did the arbitrator, Dr Hughes, allow the most important technical issue in the whole COT arbitration process – the testing of the COT cases’ business service lines (the very reason for the arbitration process in the first place) – to be conducted, unsupervised, by the defendant, who was technically on trial for not providing the claimants with a service fit for purpose? Was covering up Telstra’s ailing copper-wire network more important than the businesses and lives of those who originally dared challenge the system on behalf of all Australians?
By clicking onto Chapters One to Five in our Prologue page, you will be able to determine just how undemocratic the COT arbitrations were.
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