GREENWOOD residents are calling on the Federal Government to prioritise the construction of the National Broadband Network (NBN) in their area because of a lack of internet availability.
Hans Mohle is spearheading a petition that will be tabled in Parliament by Cowan MHR Anne Aly.
He and his family have relied on “expensive” mobile broadband since they moved to Greenwood in 2007 as they were told ADSL internet was unavailable because they were too far from the exchange.
Mr Mohle was forced to change providers in June but found none could connect him to ADSL which, he discovered, was the case for the majority of his neighbours.
“It’s been an ongoing issue,” he said.
“The only way we’re going to change this is by standing together.”
Nbn Co is expected to start construction of the NBN in the first half of 2018 and Mr Mohle said a solution was needed in the meantime.
“We can’t even Skype with our family in South Africa,” he said. “The amount of people who would love to run businesses from their homes … it makes me so angry.
“How do you run a small business without the internet?”
His school-aged children often struggle when needing to use the internet for homework and the family had even considered moving from Greenwood, a sentiment Mr Mohle said was echoed by other residents.
“People have said: ‘If we had known of the problems before, then we wouldn’t have moved here’,” he said.
“You can see there are a lot of emotions, people are really angry about it.”
The petition requests amending the NBN rollout to prioritise areas with poor quality internet like Greenwood, independently inspect and test the copper network in the suburb and update data to reflect more accurate information for suburbs within the Cowan electorate.
Dr Aly said residents’ two-year wait for the NBN was too long.
“If you’ve got a 13-year-old starting off in high school, by the time you get NBN it might not be until late 2018, perhaps even 2019, even 2020 when they’re close to finishing high school,” she said.
“For residents with young people, with families, it’s a big ask to ask them to wait for two years.”
She said she was working to provide an interim solution.
“(We are) approaching providers to see if they can upgrade their towers or install new towers to provide fixed wireless to those areas that are black spots and most in need,” she said.
Dr Aly hosted a discussion with representatives from Wanneroo Business Association, Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts and a resident with the view to establishing an internet action group.
“Rather than focus on the issue and the concerns, we’re actually going to be looking at what is some solutions,” she said.
“We’re doing a mapping of where are the most dire black spots in need and then working with whatever private providers are out there who can come in and offer a community based solution to the residents at a competitive price.”
The suburbs targeted along with Greenwood are Warwick, Girrawheen, Pearsall, Hocking, Wangara, Wanneroo and Tapping.
The petition closes November 1; visit tinyurl.com/j4rbzue.