NBN…again

CHRISTMAS may bring good tidings, but it’s not bringing peace and quiet for those living on Railway Parade in Maylands.

This week residents were delivered NBNCo flyers telling them that “construction work near your property” was about to commence to upgrade pipes along the roads—some seven weeks after verge-work had already started.

Bayswater councillor Catherine Ehrhardt’s brother has a property there and she says there’s been no end of troubles since the NBN contractors showed up and started digging up the verge one Saturday at 5.45am.

The Ehrhardt siblings got in touch with NBNCo provider Downer Group asking what was going on.

• NBN flyer that was seven weeks late.

The company claimed they’d done a flyer drop back in October letting people know about the works, but no one they’ve spoken to on the street remembers getting one.

The group also apologised for their workers showing up so early, saying they didn’t realise people lived there and they thought it was shops.

The miscommunication at Railway Parade is the latest in a string of NBN balls-ups: first we heard from residents with heritage-listed houses unhappy with getting big green tombstones (aka the “nodes” that will deliver us internet) plonked outside their house with no consultation, then there were reports, from people who finally have the watered-down version of the NBN, that it’s sluggish and worse than their old ADSL.

The original NBN plan was to deliver the new high-tech fibre directly to the home, and anyone who got it early got fast speeds.

When the Abbott government was elected in 2013 and when Malcolm Turnbull was communications minister, they pulled back the rollout to no longer deliver the fibre directly to the home, just to those green nodes you’re seeing pop up on verges, with the old copper network making up the distance to the houses. In November Telstra announced they would compensate 42,000 customers for slow NBN speeds.

by DAVID BELL

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