Warning bells ring as NBN woes continue


AUSTRALIA'S National Broadband Network rollout has been a technical nightmare.

Dilemmas involving asbestos in Telstra manholes, split connections in multi-unit dwellings and issues involved with transferring vulnerable residents have plagued the scheme's ever- changing rollout.

These have led to a six- month delay of pit works, federal power plays against TPG Telecom's multi-dwelling connection challenge, and the introduction of a medical alarms register and staged disconnection process.

Trials of new fibre-to-the- node technology is underway on mainland Australia, while power poles now help to carry the burden of the plagued fibre rollout in Tasmania.

Let's for a second forget that its original estimated cost of $29.5 billion has been blown out of the water, now swelling around the $41 billion mark, and focus on the real issue - its impact on Tasmanians.

Many business owners and residents have approached the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission with their woes - some have experienced success.

It is fair to assume that the number of users enjoying a stable connection outweigh those experiencing problems.

However, it is the severity of the problems and apparent lack of urgency with which they are being addressed that signals warning bells.

Repeatedly missed appointments from contractors, buck passing of issues between NBN Co and telcos, and dead, disconnected or failing connections are common complaints.

It appears while NBN Co has been uplifting asphalt to connect homes with upgraded lines, its own communications bridges have been less than consistent.

An injured and elderly woman said she was disconnected from her phone service in St Helens and apparently left unattended until her letter was published by The Examiner.

A phone call from Telstra was received by The Examiner within days of the letter, requesting information and assistance with the published problems.

The company's pinpointed effort saw the woman's connection fixed - despite her own failed attempts to gain help from its technical support service.

Deloraine's Meander Valley Enterprise Centre remains unconnected some six months after registering for the service.

The centre had its order for NBN service cancelled by Telstra just days after receiving the NBN Co infrastructure.

A spokesman for Telstra said further information about the centre's issue could not be provided until an order reference number for the centre was forwarded.

Launceston's Jessups Solar Squad owner John Thirgood had to delay his business migration for months due to contractual agreements between Telstra and NBN Co.

Mr Thirgood's proposed site was not connected to fibre when Launceston was rolled out and, due to the agreement, could not receive a copper connection.

The renegotiation of Telstra's deal with NBN Co should be watched with keen eyes, as the federal organisation goes back to the $11 billion deal in an attempt to gain access to the company's copper network.

Perhaps its finalisation will bring smoother transitions for Tasmania's guinea pig populous.


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