Calls to fast-track NBN in Morley area

Amber-Jade Sanderson.
Amber-Jade Sanderson.

AN action group has renewed calls to fast-track the National Broadband Network (NBN) and fix deteriorating infrastructure in the Morley electorate.

The Internet Action Group was formed by Morley MLA Amber-Jade Sanderson to lobby the Federal Government, WA Parliament and NBN Co to find options to improve current download speeds of 0.5 to 2 megabits per second.

In November, Ms Sanderson and Perth MHR Tim Hammond sent a letter to Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield seeking a timeframe for when NBN would be available in Noranda and Morley.

A spokeswoman for the Minister confirmed the letter was received, but Ms Sanderson said there was no acknowledgment from the department.

NBN Co WA corporate affairs manager Ebony Aitken said pre-network design was completed in parts of Dianella, Noranda and Morley.

“We expect to start construction of the fixed-line NBN network in these areas towards the second half of 2018, with switch-on occurring in the first quarter of 2019,” she said.

“It’s really important to note that under fibre-to-the-node (FTTN), the vast majority of the copper network is being replaced with fibre; it is only the short copper tail that is being left in place.

“This technology shortens the length of copper serving a home or business from an average of around 2km under ADSL to an average of 450 metres.”

Action group and Central Eastern Business Association committee member Chris Dengler said concerns about internet speeds were raised at a meeting last week.

“From a business perspective, our members are saying they are not even getting dial-up speeds in some of the areas where the businesses are,” he said.

“Others just have no access at all because broadband, for instance, is not sufficient in areas (where) there are no ports available on the exchanges.

“They are having to choose the more expensive option like going with 4G coverage, but even though it might be quick, they are very costly on a monthly basis.”

Ms Sanderson said the 2019 timeframe was a “rubbish deal” and FTTN would be sub-standard because of the existing “degenerated” copper network.

She said the group would continue to gather signatures for a petition to Federal Parliament and meet with Fremantle MHR Josh Wilson, the parliamentary committee deputy chair, to discuss the issues.

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