The National Broadband Network made a big song and dance this week about reaching the halfway point in its national rollout. It also announced the South Coast was one of the most connected regions in its network.
Normally, this milestone would merit applause, but with almost daily reports of appalling connection issues the lustre has been dulled.
Even for the domestic user, a dysfunctional internet is intolerable. For a business, which relies on its internet and phone connection, it is disastrous.
Even more infuriating for the customer is the ping pong between NBN Co and service providers, as the blame is bounced between the two. Some businesses on the South Coast have been left in a telecommunication void for weeks on end.
Shifting the blame is entirely inappropriate. There is clearly the need for a third party to intervene and establish definitively who is at fault and needs to rectify the issue.
Flopping from call centre to call centre ratchets up the anger and frustration, which does enormous reputational damage to the NBN and the telcos and a good deal of that mud ends up sticking to the government.
In an area already beset by connectivity problems and communication blackspots, trumpeting the happy milestones of a service most of us don’t even have is like pouring salt on the wound.
And for those who have connected, like Rod Niemeier, only to find their previous ADSL connection was superior in both speed and stability, how do we in the Bega Valley share in the federal joy of a light at the end of the NBN tunnel?
Especially when that light is a long way further away and costlier than we were originally led to expect.
No amount of soothing words from the Communications Minister or trumpet blowing by NBN Co will defuse the ticking time bomb that is customer fury at ongoing connection issues. Both would do well to take a look at the audience response on our Facebook page. It’s a quick ready reckoner of dissatisfaction.
While we accept there will be hiccups with the rollout of any new technology, we do not for one second think it acceptable that users who have paid for a shiny new service end up with no service at all.
So at this halfway point, we urge NBN Co to get its act together so the households and businesses yet to be connected aren’t confronted with the same infuriating problems.