The frustrated editorial in the March edition of the Friendly Bay Islander, has elicited a response from the Minister for Communications and the Arts, the Hon Mitch Fifield.
The editorial was the basis of a complaint to the Minister’s office, sent by reader Ursula Ebber of Lamb Island.
In our editorial, we complained that our islands were ‘sick and tired’ of being treated abysmally by Government,
Where once we had been promised 2017 connection to the NBN, we were advised just recently that it would be installed in 2018 for connection in 2019 - two years later than first thought!
Not only that, we were virtually totally ignored in the State Government’s SE Queensland Draft Report where no progress or mention of our islands was recognised.
It annoyed us, and it clearly annoyed Ursula Ebber.
“On reading your editorial, I decided to send off a letter of complaint to the Department of Communications.
“Please find attached the response of the office of the Minister to my letter of complaint in relation to your article ‘Islands miss out on NBN and the Shaping of SE Queensland’.
The response was signed by Loretta Power, the Assistant Director of Broadband Implementations.
She says: “I note your concern about the conflicting advice provided in past years about the prospective network rollout to Lamb Island and the Bay Islands. Whilst various commencement dates for network construction have been advised, including through the Australian Parliament, it is important to note that these have all been based on the best information available at the time.
“Given the size of the infrastructure project, the timeframes referenced in NBN’s rollout plans are inevitably estimates and are subject to change.
“Previous rollout construction plans were based on the date that network construction was expected to commence, with consumers in fixed line areas typically expected to be able to order services within a year of constructions commencing in their area.”
This since has been upgraded to now provide estimates on when the network is likely to be available to consumers at their address, rather than the date the network construction is expected to commence.
Loretta Power continued: “Currently, NBN expects your premises will be able to order network services in the second half of 2019 through fibre to the curb technology.
“Because FTTC delivers fibre so close to end-user premises, the technology provides a great platform for NBN to deploy new copper-acceleration technologies such as G.fast and XG.FAST in the future if end-user demand for much higher speeds arises.
“NBN recognises that many consumers would like access to NBN services as soon as possible and tries to prioritise underserved areas where possible.
“Every community is important, but due to the nature and size of Australia, the NBN network needs to be rolled out in a staged process that involves careful planning, design, construction and activation to ensure that it's installed in the most efficient way possible.
“It is not logistically or commercially feasible to prioritise all areas across Australia simultaneously,” Loretta Power stated.
It should be noted that the NBN is currently being installed at Redland Bay.
It will be more than two years before it is available on our islands!