Residents left in the dark over NBN roll-out
May 9, 2013, 5:30 p.m.
NBN AFR PHOTOGRAPH BY GLENN HUNT 11042013.GENERIC- NBN, optic fibre, optical fibre, technology, internet, high speed broadband, broadband, cable.
LUGARNO residents are concerned that Hurstville Council is not prepared for the roll out of the national broadband network.
The roll-out is due to start in three weeks, reaching approximately 16,000 households within the Hurstville Council area.
Lugarno resident Peter Toumbelekis, 27, was shocked to learn that the roll-out is due to begin in May.
“We haven’t heard anything about it,” he said. “It’s worrying that council has no interest in a project this large.”
NBN Co’s website says local government plays a “unique and critical role in both informing NBN Co about potential problems and requirements and assisting in community education and publicity.” But in an emailed response Hurstville Council general manager Victor Lampe said: “The federal government isn’t involving us in the implementation.”
Federal MP for Banks Daryl Melham failed to comment.
Examples of NBN Co’s recommendations to local government include the identification of relevant stakeholders and community groups, development approvals, protection of heritage sites and the environment, road closures, traffic management, and community information sessions.
A spokesman for NBN Co confirmed an “introductory meeting” was held on January 23 this year with Hurstville Council, a year after the three-year roll-out plan of the NBN was revealed and six weeks before construction is due to start.
NBN Co recommends that local libraries hold community information sessions before the roll-out, but no such meetings have taken place or are planned for the near future.
A search of the minutes from every council committee over the past two years revealed that the terms national broadband network, NBN, or NBN Co did not appear once.
Inadequate coverage and a lack of concern from local government is not new to Mr Toumbelekis.
“Telstra can’t help you, Optus can’t help you, so it doesn’t surprise me that council can’t either,” Mr Toumbelekis said.
Do you have concerns about the NBN roll out?