NBNCo attempts clarification after recent service problems

NBNCo ‘Sky Muster’ satellite coverage map (for illustrative purposes only) – denser coverage mirrors denser coastal populations.

CLARIFICATION of the role of the National Broadband Network (NBN) was the goal at a special NBNCo information session held at Karuah RSL on Wednesday 15 May.

Recent major problems, including the large NBN outage in February, as well as a very popular petition to do something about the perpetually poor telecommunications, had all seemingly led to this special visit.

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From the get-go, some local attendees appeared unaware of where their internet may be coming from at any given time – NBN connections, mobile providers, home wifi networks, fixed lines vs fixed wireless.

The entire world of Internet connectivity has grown infinitely complex, similarly multiplying the frustrations.

An ‘NBN 101’ was attempted, one of the primary messages of which was: “The NBN is available to all Australians, in one form of technology or another.”

In Karuah, several residents claimed they had received optic fibre ‘upgrades’ in the last six months, but their connection had never been worse.

Those living well outside any decent mobile reception were interested in Sky Muster, NBNCo’s satellite option, however, no matter the technology used, NBNCo is just the wholesaler.

All residential and business internet services are, in fact, bought from the NBNCo network by retailers, who then on-sell to the end-user customers.

There was much consternation in the room, with many frustrated by the concept that internet retailers can sell different speeds and data plans, and routinely appear to confound the end-users.

“When you turn the shower on, you don’t want to think about the reservoir the water comes from, all the pipes and plumbing that gets it to your bathroom – you just want to have a shower,” came one analogy.

“We just want to turn on our internet and have the internet flow around the house.”

Another gentleman claimed he was still paying $70 per month for only twelve megabytes per second, a slow speed that should have been replaced by a faster, better connection deal years ago.

Official NBNCo advice was clear enough.

“Please raise your problems with your internet service retailer, and make sure they give you a case number, which the NBNCo can follow-up and see what was done.”

Other useful official NBNCo tools, which are, to be fair, often overlooked, include the ‘Check Your Address’ and ‘Home Internet Helper’ features on the official website, which can tell homeowners what sort of technology they should be getting, and some simple, yet useful, tips on things like placement of one’s wifi router within the house.

A further NBNCo seminar, focusing on online scams, is due to be held at the Karuah RSL next week.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

Concerned Karuah residents wanted to know why their Internet never seems to work.

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