Wagga still falls short half way through NBN project

Poor NBN speeds are hitting Wagga where it hurts.
Poor NBN speeds are hitting Wagga where it hurts.

A government research centre has praised the National Broadband Network for its “improved choice and quality of service”, but Wagga businesses say they’re falling between the cracks.

The concerns come as the roll out of the NBN project officially passed its halfway point.​

Businesses in particular are some of the hardest hit by drop outs, according to Labor Party councillor Vanessa Keenan.

“I was alarmed to hear that NBN connections aren’t up to the standard that’s required in Bomen,” she said.

“Around once a month there’s drop outs. Given the nature of business, that’s not good.”

It’s more about focusing on the “quality,” Cr Keenan said, than the quantity of connecting complex areas by the 2020 deadline.

The drop outs happen every time work is done on the NBN towers, according to Great Southern Electrical managing director Sean Duffy.

”Without internet we might as well drop out of business,” he said.

“I think the wireless speed is OK but as more and more people have gotten onto it, (the speed) has fallen.”

More than “21,000 homes and businesses in Wagga can now access the network,” an NBN spokeswoman said, using a mix of fixed line and wireless connections.

“We are continuing to work with our partners and retail service providers to address issues, improve service levels and customer satisfaction.”

The fibre-optic connections, part of the original plans for the network, are being implemented more and more across the CBD according to Kinetix Networks chief executive James Howell.

The northern half of Kooringal from Fay Avenue to the CBD are connected alongside Estella, Boorooma, Glenfield and areas of Ashmont, Tolland and Turvey Park.

“Most people we’re seeing are able to achieve a 50Mbps download speeds and 20Mbps upload speeds,” Mr Howell said.

“Some people have had great experiences. Other feedback we’ve had is that they’re finding the NBN in some cases slower than what they’re receiving on ADSL2+ at night.

“That comes from the retail service provider not buying enough capacity from the NBN to support their network.”

There is a deep frustration from the local community about the speeds, Cr Keenan said, with more needed  to combat the “knock-on effect” of disruption on businesses.

“Big promises were made and they’re not being delivered,” she said.

“It might look and sound shiny and fast, but it’s just not working for what businesses and residents need.”

Wagga is one of the “most connected parts of the country,” NBN’s spokeswoman said, with the rollout across the wider Riverina area more than 80 per cent complete.


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