NBN au­di­ence un­plugged

Weekend Courier - - Front Page -

ROCK­ING­HAM res­i­dents claim they are in cri­sis with NBN con­nec­tions and mo­bile phone blackspots.

Some par­ents said they were forced to drop their chil­dren at Mc­Don­ald’s so they could do their home­work, while home busi­nesses have been ren­dered in­op­er­a­ble.

The ar­eas with se­vere on­go­ing prob­lems were Port Kennedy, Warnbro and Baldivis.

Brand MHR Madeleine King held a spe­cial NBN cri­sis meet­ing with Op­po­si­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tions spokes­woman Michelle Row­land in Baldivis on Tues­day.

Res­i­dents at the meet­ing talked about their anger and frus­tra­tion.

Com­plaints re­lated to is­sues with Tel­stra and NBN Co.

Many said while wait­ing for the NBN to roll out in their area, a lack of ADSL ports pro­hib­ited them from any in­ter­net ac­cess or ex­tremely slow con­nec­tions that dropped out in bad weather. One Port Kennedy res­i­dent, Michael, said he had bat­tled Tel­stra for two years.

“I was told it was to do with the weather and con­nec­tion would al­ways slow or drop out in rain or at peak us­age times,” he said. “It slowed to 1 megabit per sec­ond.” “The prob­lem is the cop­per lines are cor­rod­ing and the sub-ex­change in Warnbro is dead.”

An­other res­i­dent from Baldivis said she was be­ing sold NBN plans by re­tail­ers even though there was not any NBN in her area.

Ms King said res­i­dents in the af­fected ar­eas were be­ing dis­crim­i­nated against. “It is a case of in­equal­ity,” she said. “Cottes­loe is an area where se­cure, fast in­ter­net is taken for granted.”

Ms Row­land said La­bor in­tended to ad­vo­cate on con­cerned res­i­dents’ be­half.

“In the world to­day, peo­ple should not have to be mak­ing these choices between their busi­ness or the area they live in,” she said.

“You do not get a house built with a wa­ter and elec­tric­ity op­tion.”

Tel­stra area gen­eral man­ager Boyd Brown said Tel­stra’s fixed net­works were main­tained in line with world’s best prac­tice.

He said there were 14,000 ports avail­able to res­i­dents in Baldivis.

Ms King con­firmed all of those ports were in use.

She said Tel­stra was re­spon­si­ble for proper main­te­nance of the cop­per lines and sub-sta­tions un­til the NBN had been rolled out in each area and then for 18 months af­ter it.

NBN Co spokes­woman Ebony Aitkin said they were a whole­saler, with re­tail­ers re­spon­si­ble for sell­ing plans.

“If peo­ple aren’t get­ting what they paid for, they should con­tact their ser­vice provider first,” she said.

“If the is­sue can’t be re­solved they will con­tact the NBN and we will in­ves­ti­gate and work with re­tail­ers to re­solve mat­ters as quickly as pos­si­ble.”

Con­struc­tion of the NBN net­work in parts of Se­cret Har­bour, Kar­nup, Lake­lands, Port Kennedy and Warnbro will start mid-next year.

It is ex­pected to start in Baldivis in the sec­ond half of next year.

Op­po­si­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tions spokes­woman Michelle Row­land, with Brand MHR Madeleine King watch­ing on.

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