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Residents unhappy with 'free installation'

Date

David Ellery

A spokesperson for Stephen Conroy told Fairfax that under the charter governing the rollout, residents were entitled to free installation.

A spokesperson for Stephen Conroy told Fairfax that under the charter governing the rollout, residents were entitled to free installation. Photo: Louise Kennerley

Gungahlin residents have taken to social media to vent about the challenges of getting a national broadband network connection up and running.

NBN Gungahlin, a thread on the popular Whirlpool talk site, has logged numerous posts from residents who are unhappy with the contractors' assessment of the best position for a ''standard installation''.

The NBN went live in Gungahlin at the beginning of the month and residents can now arrange to have the necessary hardware to hook up to the fibre optic network by making contact with an internet service provider. It is understood up to 10 ISPs are actively targeting the suburb already.

A common criticism on the website is that when contractors arrive, the ''free'' installation point, usually to the nearest power point, is not the best option from the owners' point of view.

To have the hardware installed at a preferred location takes additional time and costs money.

A spokesman for Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy told Fairfax that NBN Co was aware of the Whirlpool posts and that under the charter governing the rollout, residents were entitled to a free installation.

That installation point had to comply with set conditions, however, and if a consumer wanted their unit to be mounted somewhere else then additional charges would be incurred.

According to the NBN Co special access undertaking, a ''standard installation'' is one that requires no more than one drop fibre, network termination device, connecting fibre and premises connection device, that the drop fibre is no more than 60 metres in length from the property boundary and that the connecting fibre is no more than 40 metres in length. There has to be a power point within three metres of the network termination device.

Copper cut-off concerns

Gungahlin's Hugh Mulvie says the news his existing copper telephone cable will be cut off in July has come as an unwelcome surprise.

He is concerned the decision, delivered to residents of the suburb in a letter from NBNCo this month, will disadvantage the elderly and the disadvantaged who lack the technological know-how or the resources to sign up for the new service.

Gungahlin residents can already connect to the national broadband network and it is understood that hundreds, if not thousands, have done so since the service officially went live at the start of February.

''The plan has always been that the NBN would replace the decades-old copper based network with a state-of-the-art 21st century fibre optic service,'' a spokesman for Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy said.

''Eighteen months is not a short amount of time; copper service disconnections are carried out on a rolling basis 18 months after a region is connected to the service.''

Mr Mulvie said he was concerned that there had been a ''a lack of consultation''. ''My understanding is that if I don't call to connect to the NBN before July [2014] I will have no landline access,'' he said.

 

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