Pakenham South residents with no access to the internet are demanding answers as to why their suburb has not been prioritised in the NBN rollout over suburbs that already have access to ADSL.
One resident has even offered her own property as a site for the construction of an NBN tower if it meant speeding up the process.
University student Rachel Cavallo has launched a petition as a “last resort”.
“I have uni text books online and I can’t access them,” Ms Cavallo said.
“I have to pay to stay at uni overnight once a week just so that I can study.”
Ms Cavallo said there were many small businesses and dairy farms in Pakenham South who supported the local community and were suffering without the internet.
“Why bring the NBN to areas that already have ADSL?” she said.
“We don’t even have access to ADSL ports. If we can’t get the NBN, then at least make ports available. We just want a solution.”
Mel O’Hoy has lived in Pakenham South for 12 years and operates a horse breaking business.
She was told in January to expect the NBN in three months, and the timeframe has since been continuously pushed back.
“It’s frustrating when people 200 metres up the road have the internet and we don’t,” Ms O’Hoy said.
“My clients require videos of us breaking in their horses, and I have to drive to McDonalds to download videos and send them to clients. It’s a bit embarrassing.
“We’re probably one of the biggest businesses in not just Pakenham South, but all of Pakenham. We’ve had some horrible stressful times. Things that should take a few minutes take an hour.
“It’s taken me 40 minutes to load surnames beginning with the letter ‘A’ through to ‘G’ for our monthly accounts.”
Ms O’Hoy has 35 employees, with five working in the office, and has two teenage children including one doing VCE.
“Our Wi-Fi modem is limited to 25 GB per month. We’re constantly going over our 25 GB and have just upgraded to 50 GB per month because we have to pay $10 for every GB we go over the limit,” she said.
“We’re paying a fortune for poor service.
“We’ve got land. We’re happy to build the tower on our property to get it going.”
Several households and businesses within the regions where NBN services have been announced as available have also encountered problems in connecting to the NBN.
Pakenham-based Barry Brown and Sons’ Michelle Schmidt said the business had faced ongoing issues with Telstra and the NBN.The office was unexpectedly forced off the grid for almost a week and the NBN service was delayed by a month.
The office was unexpectedly forced off the grid for almost a week and the NBN service was delayed by a month.
“We were due to have our NBN connected on 9 September, but then Telstra without warning cut our ADSL off on 31 August,” Ms Schmidt said.
“… 9 September came around, still no NBN. After numerous calls, they advised us that the NBN order had failed – whatever that means – and that we would have to start the whole process again.
“Only after contacting the Ombudsman did they agree to give us a portable internet modem, which was barely adequate. It took us twice as long to do anything.
“We didn’t get the NBN until 10 October only to find out that it’s no quicker than the ADSL that we had before and that we have to pay extra for a faster speed every month.”
NBN state corporate affairs manager Michael Moore said there were to be 17 NBN towers constructed within Cardinia Shire.
“One of the priorities was to, where possible, prioritise areas most poorly serviced which has meant there are many rural areas that have received NBN before metro areas,” Mr Moore said.
“About 70 per cent of the build so far has been in non-metro areas. The next phase over the next two years will be more focused on metro areas.
“We have made it clear to customers that our construction plan could change from time to time. Some builds have been brought forward while others have been delayed.
“But we are meeting all our targets to have more than 12 million premises connected by 2020.”
He said that construction in Bayles, Maryknoll, Garfield, Nar Nar Goon and Pakenham Upper were next on the list, with Officer, Cardinia, Nar Nar Goon North and Tooradin North to be the focus for the latter half of next year.
To view local petitions, visit change.org and search ‘NBN to Pakenham South and Surrounding areas’ or ‘Get the Telstra NBN into Eden Brooke Estate Pakenham’.
For more information, visit http://www.nbnco.com.au/rollout-map.html.
Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.