‘Lemon’ NBN drives bush to bite back

The West Australian, 20 July 2017

The warning comes from WA’s Chief Information Officer Giles Nunis

The State Government will hold a crisis meeting with farmers’ groups and rural businesses amid growing complaints the National Broadband Network in country areas is overloaded and sluggish.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan will meet the WA Farmers Federation, grain handler CBH, Brookfield Rail, telcos and NBN Co to hear complaints and find solutions to slow internet speeds in the bush.

Ms MacTiernan said it appeared NBN Co was putting too many regional communities on to the NBN Sky Muster satellite service so it could say they were connected to the network.

“Sky Muster is a complete lemon,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“In order to make it appear places are connected to the NBN, they have put small towns on the service that never should have gone on it.”

When the NBN was announced by Kevin Rudd ahead of the 2007 election, the Sky Muster satellite service was to be used to service the 3 per cent of the population deemed too remote to be reached with cables and phone towers.

But experts claim that percentage has been steadily stretched to the point where the service is badly overloaded.

Jim Wyatt, of consulting group Optimi Digital, questioned why Wheatbelt towns such as Quairading, 170km east of Perth, were on Sky Muster when it was close to fibre optic cables near Great Eastern Highway.

WA’s Chief Information Officer Giles Nunis has said that poor service from the NBN had the potential to put lives at risk.