Some Gungahlin residents and businesses have one month left to switch over to the NBN before their copperline phone and internet connections stop working.
The first area to be switched over, on July 17, is an area around Gundaroo Drive bounded by Horse Park Drive and Gungahlin Drive. This will be the first time a Canberran district will rely exclusively upon NBN coverage.
Two other nearby areas have switchovers looming on July 31 and September 28. According to NBN co-spokesman Darren Rudd, Gungahlin’s switchover is a milestone for the ACT.
Calling the district a “key jigsaw piece”, he said the government would use its switchover to understand how NBN coverage for Canberra should be managed.
“A lot of people moved to Gungahlin 20 years ago for faster broadband,” he said. “And that agitation’s been reflected by how many people have called us: it’s been the fastest, steepest take-up rate in the country.”
An estimated 1700 households must now arrange for their landlines, broadband network and internet services to be connected to the new fibre optic network. EFTPOS and security systems must also be switched over.
Mr Rudd said there were some concerns surrounding older citizens and their understanding of the NBN.
“Even if they use their landlines and they don’t care about the internet and they don’t care about data, that’s fine – but they still need to contact a retailer and switch over.”
Despite NBN Co’s four year communication campaign with Gungahlin Community Council and the media, Mr Rudd also urged the relatives of district residents to remind them to make the switch.
He added that while NBN services must technically be installed by July 17, residents who’ve put their orders in before the date will not be cut off.
The alternative to the NBN is mobile and wireless services.
Vice-President of the Gungahlin Community Council Peter Elford said that after having campaigned for better broadband for a decade and a half, the mood in the community was “ecstatic”.
“We were a community desperate for something,” he said. “Gungahlin was meant to be a high-tech community, but we were left with terrible, low-performance ADSL.”
“Their [the NBN’s] big challenge now is reaching everyone so they know.”