NBN fiasco as Far South Coast gets sidelined

There are few big industries in the Bega Valley Shire; few job prospects and few opportunities for wealth creation.

The key to the shire’s future prosperity lies with improved telecommunications technology to incentivise small creative enterprises and to allow existing business to be more efficient.

It is as critical for the Far South Coast residents as for the city folk that we have satisfactory internet speeds which the National Broadband Network promised to deliver.

But for Merimbula, Pambula and all places south the news is not good – the NBN might not be available to the southern part of the shire at all. 

This information emerged through questions asked by the Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) of NBN Co CEO Greg Adcock.

BVSRRA contacted Mr Adcock seeking clarification on the nature and timing of the roll-out of the promised new service to numerous south coast towns and localities.

According to BVSRRA Merimbula, Pambula, Eden, Wonboyn, Wyndham, Towamba and Nethercote, as well as other areas south and west to the Victorian border, are not included in the current roll-out schedule. “No indication was forthcoming as to when it will be made available, or even if it will be made available at all,” BVSRRA secretary John Richardson said.

BVSRRA has now written to the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, highlighting growing concerns amongst Bega Valley Shire residents and ratepayers as to the quality of the planned national broadband network infrastructure to be rolled-out by NBN Co on the south coast and the timing of that roll-out.

While Merimbula had been promised the benefits of the proposed new fibre optic cable service in the light of the recent advice it appears that has turned to dust.

“The BVSRRA has advised the minister that a growing number of residents/ratepayers outside of those major towns are deeply unhappy about the fact that they will be expected to make do with a second rate internet service, largely delivered by fixed wireless network or satellite, or receive no improved service at all,” Mr Richardson said.

The BVSRRA has also advised the minister that an increasing number of south coast residents and ratepayers are not only incensed by the poor quality of promised infrastructure, but are also angry that they have been once again placed at the end of the queue when it comes to the roll-out of the promised new service.

“We have called on the minister to end the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the deployment of the national broadband network on the south coast of NSW, by insisting that NBN Co immediately initiate meaningful consultation with south coast communities to clarify the situation,” Mr Richardson said.

Eden resident Keith Bashford is outraged that the southern part of the shire will not receive the NBN. In a strongly-worded letter to the editor published in the MNW April 2 he said it would have dire implications for the area.

“The failure to connect this large area to NBN will have very serious implications for the future evolution of Eden and surrounds.

“NBN is a key ingredient for any town or city that wants to develop as part of a modern Australia. The absence of the NBN will relegate those towns to ‘backwater status’ that won’t happen next week but in five or 10 years the effects could be dramatic,” Mr Bashford said.

If you feel strongly about this issue use the following contacts:  

Peter Hendy PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

E-mail: Peter.Hendy.MP@aph.gov.au

Telephone: 02) 6277 4717

Malcolm Turnbull Minister for Communications

PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Email: Malcolm.Turnbull.MP@aph.gov.au

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister

PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Email: Tony.Abbott.MP@aph.gov.au

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