City of Rockingham residents feel disconnected from NBN

Opposition communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland, with Brand MHR Madeleine King watching on.
Opposition communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland, with Brand MHR Madeleine King watching on.

ROCKINGHAM residents claim they are in crisis with NBN connections and mobile phone blackspots.

Some parents said they were forced to drop their children at McDonald’s so they could do their homework, while home businesses have been rendered inoperable.

The areas with severe ongoing problems were Port Kennedy, Warnbro and Baldivis.

Brand MHR Madeleine King held a special NBN crisis meeting with Opposition communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland in Baldivis on Tuesday.

Residents at the meeting talked about their anger and frustration.

Complaints related to issues with Telstra and NBN Co.

Many said while waiting for the NBN to roll out in their area, a lack of ADSL ports prohibited them from any internet access or extremely slow connections that dropped out in bad weather. One Port Kennedy resident, Michael, said he had battled Telstra for two years.

“I was told it was to do with the weather and connection would always slow or drop out in rain or at peak usage times,” he said.

“It slowed to 1 megabit per second.”

“The problem is the copper lines are corroding and the sub-exchange in Warnbro is dead.”

Another resident from Baldivis said she was being sold NBN plans by retailers even though there was not any NBN in her area.

Ms King said residents in the affected areas were being discriminated against.

“It is a case of inequality,” she said.

“Cottesloe is an area where secure, fast internet is taken for granted.”

Ms Rowland said Labor intended to advocate on concerned residents’ behalf.

“In the world today, people should not have to be making these choices between their business or the area they live in,” she said.

“You do not get a house built with a water and electricity option.”

Telstra area general manager Boyd Brown said Telstra’s fixed networks were maintained in line with world’s best practice.

He said there were 14,000 ports available to residents in Baldivis.

Ms King confirmed all of those ports were in use.

She said Telstra was responsible for proper maintenance of the copper lines and sub-stations until the NBN had been rolled out in each area and then for 18 months after it.

NBN Co spokeswoman Ebony Aitkin said they were a wholesaler, with retailers responsible for selling plans.

“If people aren’t getting what they paid for, they should contact their service provider first,” she said.

“If the issue can’t be resolved they will contact the NBN and we will investigate and work with retailers to resolve matters as quickly as possible.”

Construction of the NBN network in parts of Secret Harbour, Karnup, Lakelands, Port Kennedy and Warnbro will start mid-next year.

It is expected to start in Baldivis in the second half of next year.