The battle continues to have Telstra improve internet services to the Northern Illawarra.
More than 50 people gathered at Tradies in Helensburgh on Monday night to voice their concerns, and to find answers to their lack-of-adequate-service dilemma.
The group met with eight Telstra representatives, which enabled residents of individual suburbs to take part in a group discussion specifically relevant to their area.
Also in attendance were delegates of the Australian Communications Consumer Network, a consumer organisation established to keep the Telcos honest.
Meeting organiser Mark McKenzie from lobby group 2508+Disconnected says the crowd was boisterous.
“People wanted answers. They came with pent-up frustrations and there were some pretty feisty conversations about the poor quality coverage we all suffer with,” he says.
“Telstra had been blaming congestion for the slow downloads we all experience. However, disappointingly, a recent upgrade to the co-axiel cable heading into the exchange hasn’t made any significant improvements. This means it’s not really the problem.
“The other reason for the slow speeds is what Telstra calls ‘noise’ on the line. That’s basically other signals interfering with the internet, and it appears to be the result of poor maintenance of Telstra’s copper network. Telstra admitted this hasn’t been maintained as they believed the problem was related to the congestion.”
The problem is, the NBN is on the way, so Telstra is reluctant to spend the money to upgrade the copper. But WHEN it’s coming through is yet to be determined.
“NBN announces the next phase of their roll-out in the next week or so,” says Mark. “Fingers are crossed it includes the remaining sector of the Northern Illawarra.”
And Mark says while the meeting allowed locals to vent their angst, it’s certainly not the final stage of the fight.
“We are about to take matters into our own hands,” says Mark. “We will survey as many homes as we can in the area to determine their level of coverage, and therefore develop a ‘heat map’ we can take to Telstra, but also to the NBN and parliament House, to have something done about this situation.
“We can use this performance reporting to encourage the support of politicians. It will also help the ACCN. They aim to make internet providers accountable. We are all paying the same money for our service, which is way below par. They’re working with the ACCC to have organisations like Telstra held accountable for charging for a service they are having trouble providing.
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