About 30 people attended the event, organised by Canning MHR Andrew Hastie, to air their concerns and find out when they would be getting access to the National Broadband Network (NBN).
“Reliable phone and internet services are vital to small and large businesses, families and students who live and work here,” Mr Hastie said.
“From a personal perspective, internet connectivity is also very important, so I understand your concerns.”
NBN WA corporate affairs manager Phillipa Perry said the NBN rollout was expected to start in Armadale and Byford at the start of May.
Mardella resident Rod Bell said people in his area could not even get dial-up services and his property was just 800m from a hub.
“Everyone has had letters from Telstra after we’ve complained and the technicians tell us the system is out of date and blown up, and they just keep apologising. They come out to our house saying ‘we can fix this’ but they can’t,” he said.
“My son failed two units of uni because of the internet and a boy down the road has actually given up uni because he can’t get the internet.”
He said another local lad had tried to download a movie which at current local speeds would have taken him 365 days.
“We’re 800m from a hub and they tell us there is no money to replace the hub. We’d be happy just to have dial-up,” he said.
Ms Perry said the Mardella south area was scheduled to start being connected to the NBN in the first quarter of 2017.
Mundijong-based farmer Lisa Brazier said she needed the internet to make her agriculture business internationally competitive.
“It’s actually more viable for me to fly to my property in Broome every five weeks and stay for a week and get a week’s worth of business done than it is from operating out of Mundijong,” she said.
“And it’s actually cheaper for me to buy data packages in Nepal, a third world country, than it is here in Australia.”
Mr Fifield said NBN was not locked into one form of service delivery but was looking at a range of options, including fibre-to-the-node, fixed wireless, pay TV cables and satellite for regional customers.
He said the Federal Government was committed to getting the service rolled out across Australia as quickly and cheaply as possible.
“One of the virtues of the multi-technology mix approach that we are taking is that if new technologies come along or (there are) better ways of deploying existing technologies, then NBN as an organisation will change,” Mr Fifield said.
“There could well be the need in five or 10 years time for renovations and upgrades to different components of the NBN.”