Headaches in NBN switch

Declan BushAugusta Margaret River Times
NBN advisor Mike Hendry updated residents on Margaret River's NBN rollout this week.
Camera IconNBN advisor Mike Hendry updated residents on Margaret River's NBN rollout this week. Credit: Declan Bush

Margaret River residents were warned in meetings this week about possible headaches with the National Broadband Network, which goes online next month.

With many residents venting online about poor connection speeds, residents at two information sessions on Tuesday were told switching to the NBN was not automatic and they had to grill service providers about their plans to ensure fast internet speeds.

South West independent NBN adviser Mike Hendry said businesses should allow 12 months for the change and that the copper network would be turned off 18 months from the ready date.

Mr Hendry said the new network would be vulnerable to power failures and residents had to ensure alarms and health alerts were connected to mobile networks.

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“NBN’s terrific advice to every-one was get a mobile phone and keep it charged,” he said.

The NBN offered bundles of 25 megabits per second, 50mbps, and 100mbps, but Mr Hendry said these were “theoretical maximums”.

Residents in Bunbury had found their internet speeds slower than the speeds they had on ADSL.

Cowaramup resident Grant Preller had the same concerns, telling the Times said he found net speeds “noticeably crappier” after switching to NBN.

“Pre-NBN speeds were heaps better,” he said.

“It’s pretty useless, but I don’t think we’ve really got a choice.

“There’s people in Parkwater who couldn’t even get connections.”

Adrian McSweeney, another Cowaramup resident, said it was almost two months after the town’s ready-for-service date before he could connect.

Mr McSweeney said his internet “slows right down” in busy periods and homes more than 500m from a node had worse signal quality.

Mr Hendry said internet signals could be lost because of distance from the node, tin roofs, pine trees, the position of a modem in a room, curtains, windows, and even fish tanks.

Internet service providers could also sign up customers with the hook of an “unlimited” data deal — but with a slow 12mbps speed.

Mr Hendry said residents should shop around for an ISP offering better speeds in peak periods.

“If you don’t ask about speed, nine times out of 10 they will not talk about it either,” he said.

“If you’re going to a new provider don’t sign on for two years.

“With NBN, if you don’t complain, it will not get better.”

An NBN spokeswoman said detailed advice could be found at nbnco.com.au.

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