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NBN woes for Watson residents

By misskitty - 24 January 2013 31

The National Broadband Network is only weeks away from a rollout to around 14,000 homes in Gungahlin. It heralds a shiny-bright future of super-fast connection speeds amid promises to “transform Australia as much as the telegraph, railways and highways did for previous generations”.

But this dream has been nothing more than a nightmare for a group of residents in the north Watson development, The Fair.

In late June last year, residents moving into their new, two-storey complex of 12 two-bedroom units were informed that their homes were NBN Ready and only a number of weeks away from connection. Many of them first home owners, they had no reason to expect the frustration, legal loopholes and vague updates from NBNCo that were to come.

Being what is termed a “Greenfields” area, The Fair boasts only the latest in NBN-ready cabling and none of those copper wires that older houses get their phone and internet from. This means that residents cannot access a traditional landline phone or any form of cabled internet connection. NBNCo also does not have the same obligations as Telstra under the Universal Service Obligation, so until a service can be provided, residents of a suburb barely 10km from the centre of the nation’s capital must make do with mobile phones and 3G services, or satellite services usually reserved for those in remote rural locations.

Playing the waiting game was almost fun for the residents in the first couple of weeks, with anticipation building until the first rumour of delay came via service providers who could not even find Whitmore Cres on a map.

Getting connection dates from NBNCo has been like pulling teeth, with residents being given rough estimates that edged steadily closer to the end of the year. Soon “in around two weeks” became “late August”, then “October”, then “November”. Upon contacting  NBNCo in late November, residents were assured a January 2013 connection date, which was later confirmed by a document on the NBNCo website.

In early January, residents again contacted NBNCo for a more exact connection date. After two weeks of chasing this, one resident received this response today:

“We have run into a few small issues with regards to connectivity to Block 138 which we are working through. It is envisaged that we should be able to get services connected in early March but potentially a little earlier.”

If “small issues” can cause a seven month delay, it begs the question of what issue NBNCo might consider big.

The residents of the complex at Whitmore Cres have watched in frustration as every other home in their development received its connection to the NBN. They are not sure whether to believe that March will bring a connection either.

Despite an overall trend away from landline phones, a number of residents in the complex are eager to have theirs connected. Calling relatives and friends both interstate and overseas can really add up on a mobile phone. One young woman, whose family lives in rural NSW, can’t wait to be able to have long phone conversations with them again. This morning, after hearing of the latest delay, she commented on Twitter:

“This was beyond a joke months ago. Now I don’t even know what it is.”

What’s Your opinion?


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31 Responses to
NBN woes for Watson residents
misskitty 9:22 am 25 Jan 13

misskitty said :

johnboy said :

Intriguingly Senator Conroy’s office have been in touch and their email has been passed on to MissKitty.

Intriguingly, I haven’t received anything.

Nevermind, it just came through. Thanks for passing it on.

I had been acting under the advice I received from ACMA some months ago that I was outside the USO.

misskitty 9:19 am 25 Jan 13

johnboy said :

Intriguingly Senator Conroy’s office have been in touch and their email has been passed on to MissKitty.

Intriguingly, I haven’t received anything.

johnboy 8:57 am 25 Jan 13

Intriguingly Senator Conroy’s office have been in touch and their email has been passed on to MissKitty.

vet111 8:38 am 25 Jan 13

watto23 said :

There are probably a lot of people who could be blamed here from the developers to NBNco and as a result there will be a lot of passing the buck. If the NBN had bipartisan support like it should have, alot of the perceived problems probably go away.

It’s pretty talented to blame the incompetencies of a private company on the opposition (not). If the NBNCo was established as a government entity, accountability would be paramount and processes would be transparent. See what I did there? Put the blame squarely where it lies.

To the OP, I recall a rumour that NBNCo aren’t going into multi-tenanted sites (ie apartments) until the last stage of the rollout. Might be worth doing some research….

gooterz 8:25 pm 24 Jan 13

Lucky Transact are upgrading things

NBN is literally a pipe dream

Deckard 7:22 pm 24 Jan 13

Baggy said :

Unfortunately, there is a reason NBNCo can boast several times more employees than customers (as at Oct Estimates).

Which is?

shirty_bear 5:02 pm 24 Jan 13

Baggy said :

Unfortunately, there is a reason NBNCo can boast several times more employees than customers (as at Oct Estimates) …

This made me laugh.

The NBN is *so* full of dumb.

Chop71 4:47 pm 24 Jan 13

If this happens in a new development, can’t wait to see the delays for the rest of Canberra.

3 years, my A@SE

Baggy 4:00 pm 24 Jan 13

Unfortunately, there is a reason NBNCo can boast several times more employees than customers (as at Oct Estimates).

rosscoact 3:49 pm 24 Jan 13

That must be extremely frustrating for you and it seems we’re powerless to do anything about NBN Co incompetence and inability to do anything except fudge the figures.

Jivrashia 3:34 pm 24 Jan 13

Put it on whirlpool.net.au.

You’ll get better exposure there, and will be looked by a NBNCo rep.

watto23 3:28 pm 24 Jan 13

There are probably a lot of people who could be blamed here from the developers to NBNco and as a result there will be a lot of passing the buck. If the NBN had bipartisan support like it should have, alot of the perceived problems probably go away.

Pitchka 3:20 pm 24 Jan 13

aidan said :

Telecommunications Ombudsman

Will do what exactly? You go to them to complain about an existing service you have, not a service you want/were promised and are still waiting for…

arescarti42 3:19 pm 24 Jan 13

Yikes, that sounds horrendous.

FYI, you are probably in range of Apex Telecom’s Direct wireless service, which should deliver pretty decent broadband speeds and Voip at good prices, rather than using expensive 3G and mobile services.

aidan 2:50 pm 24 Jan 13

Telecommunications Ombudsman

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