I live in Holmes Crescent, and am currently dependent on wireless broadband for Internet access, as we live a long way from the telephone exchange and ADSL is not particularly good. So I have been regularly checking NBN availability.
Over the last year and a half, the broadband technology to be provided by NBN has degraded, whilst planned availability has blown out very significantly. Before the 2013 election I had been lobbied by broadband providers in the expectation that NBN would be available in Campbell soon after the election. My understanding is that the main Civic-Fyshwick NBN fibreoptic cable runs along Truscott Street, 4 houses away from my house.
In January 2017, the NBN Co. Web site gave for my address: “Planned availability: Oct-Dec 2017”. Then:
· March 2017, Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), planned availability: July-December 2018;
· April 2018, Fibre to the Kerb (FTTK/FTTC), planned availability: January-March 2019;
· June 2018, Fibre to the Node (FTTN), planned availability: April-June 2019 (with a proviso that “Some premises may require more work before they are ready to connect.”)
In July 2018 I began corresponding with NBN Co. as I was unsure whether it realised that our current telephone service comes via wires on power poles on the reserve behind our block, then along the electricity easement along the Northern side of our block to a power pole, before connecting to our house. Both at the power pole on the reserve and the one on our side boundary there are Heath-Robinson-like connections, which blow around in the wind. When this mode of connection was first used, our landline telephone service was initially very unreliable. I am no broadband expert, but I had assumed from the general Press publicity about copper connections involving Fibre to the Node that the copper was laid in ducts in the street. But to my knowledge there was no copper cable laid in ducts in our street. I asked whether the aerial wires had been taken into account in the NBN broadband technology indicated, or whether this made Fibre to the Node an inappropriate technology. I did not want further delay of NBN broadband to result from late discovery of unsuitable copper cabling. The latest NBN response also included a reference to copper lead-in; there are a couple of lines about copper lead-in that suggest that there could be even further delays if broadband providers delay proving new copper cabling:
"If your premises is missing a copper lead-in, this will need to be installed once you have placed an order for nbn connection with your preferred provider. Your provider will arrange for this lead-in to be completed if it hasn't already."
Of course the obvious question is, if suitable copper cabling is not available, why doesn't the NBN just install fibreoptic cable ?
An NBN Co. reply drew my attention to rollout maps on its Web site. To my surprise, having been focussed of late just on my own address, I discovered that essentially all of Campbell now had the NBN available, except for the five “forgotten” streets on the Eastern edge of Campbell: Holmes Crescent, Gellibrand Street, Godfrey Street, Truscott Street, and Owen Street. There it was then shown that build had not even commenced.
Our Member of Federal Parliament, Gai Brodtmann, in a flyer sought indications of NBN broadband speeds. I wrote to her saying that we were yet even to be connected ! She has written to NBN Co. regarding the five “forgotten” streets, asking for information on the type of NBN service to be provided, along with certainty regarding the timeframe.
I raised the NBN issue of the five “forgotten” streets at the Community Meeting on 12 August 2018 of the Campbell Community Association. Some of those present at the meeting spoke to me about the TransACT broadband service now owned by TPG. Some pointed to the fact that its newer copper cabling would possibly provide a better broadband service than delivery through old Telstra copper cabling.
I would like to see some competition in provision of wholesale broadband, so would prefer to see both NBN and TransACT offering services, and I have a long-term e-mail address that I would like to preserve.
On 17 August 2018 I noticed that NBN Co. has now changed the colour on the rollout map in relation to the five “forgotten” streets to indicate that “Build [has] commenced”, but the technology or date of planned availability has not changed. I have seen no evidence of build in our immediate area.