End of copper countdown

THE copper countdown is on, with just one week left before thousands of Tasmanians will be disconnected from landlines to make way for the National Broadband Network.

Homes and businesses at Deloraine, George Town and St Helens have until May 23 to switch their landline phone and internet services over to the NBN.

NBN Co chief customer officer John Simon said it was important for residents to understand the move to the NBN was not automatic.

``Homes and business owners who want to keep using these services must place an order with their preferred phone company or internet service provider as soon as possible,'' Mr Simon said. 

Eftpos terminals, fax machines and alarm systems will be affected by the switch, and a medical alarm register has been set up to move existing customers over. 

Mr Simon said strong demand for the NBN when it became available in an area meant it could take several months to get a connection. 

``Repeat visits by technicians are sometimes required to install the NBN equipment, sometimes because more than a standard connection is required,'' Mr Simon said.

``That's led to understandable frustration among the home and business owners who have been affected,'' he said.

Mr Simon said residents in areas where landlines were being disconnected first would be prioritised.

However, TasICT executive officer Dean Winter said that could slow down the rollout in other areas.

``We're concerned that while areas having their copper service switched off are prioritised, other areas like Launceston will start seeing even longer delays between signing up and actually being connected to the NBN,'' Mr Winter said.

Mr Winter said NBN Co needed to implement an action plan for Tasmania to get the NBN back on track.

``The rollout is progressing at a snail's pace and long wait times for connection mean Tasmanian households and businesses are losing their enthusiasm for the NBN,'' Mr Winter said.

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