NBN failures in Dobell

25 August 2017

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network came to the Central Coast last week, and they heard us loud and clear. I thank the members for Farrer, Whitlam and Fremantle, and Senator Urquhart, for listening to the community. I acknowledge the Central Coast committee members, the member for Robertson and Senator O'Neill, for joining me in the push for a hearing on the Central Coast so our community's voice could be heard. We heard stories of chronic dropouts, connection issues, slow rollout times, missed opportunities for schools and lost revenues for business.

The NBN has been stuffed up by this incompetent government. Noraville resident Barry Egan told us about his two-year battle with NBN and Telstra, likening the experience to an episode of Yes Minister. He said that he spoke with over 100 representatives of NBN, Telstra and other government bodies; had 11 technician home visits; and had five Telstra complaint managers and two members of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman looking after his case. We heard from Mark Beatson, whose 24-hour gym in Lake Haven suffered an ongoing fault which left his business without CCTV or personal duress alarms for customers. Mark said he spent thousands of dollars on equipment during the outage, in addition to spending around 80 to 90 hours dealing with his provider and waiting for techniciansa financial loss he won't be compensated for.

We heard from the Central Coast Rudolf Steiner School in Fountaindale, where students still can't connect to the NBN, despite the suburb being live and the NBN rollout map showing that the nearby cemetery can connect. We heard from too many customers whose fibre-to-the-node connection is delivering speeds well below the 100 megabits per second their retailers advertise and they are paying for. As Neil Keele from Terrigal put it, 'The NBN is total crap.'

My region is at the forefront of the rollout. There are now five different NBN technologies across the Central Coast, and we are seeing all of the problems with this patchwork multitechnology mix. The TIO's most recent annual report found that four of the top 10 postcodes nationally for NBN complaints are on the Central Coast. It's no surprise. My electorate office has been inundated with complaints about the NBN. The blame shifting between NBN Co, providers and government just has to stop. I am pleased that the parliamentary committee gave local residents, business owners and schools the opportunity to provide their feedback. The Prime Minister promised Australians that his NBN would be fast, rolled out sooner and cheaper. He was wrong. We need action now. This has to be fixed.