By Cam Lucadou-Wells
In the latest NBN farce, a Springvale businessman has been locked out for months from high-speed broadband available to his next-door neighbours.
Nick Chiselett has thought of literally punching a hole in the wall and offering to pay for the neighbouring social club’s NBN connection in Garnsworthy Street.
In mid-year, Mr Chiselett had moved into the offices with a promise of NBN by September.
However this was put on hold due to a nationwide freeze on the hybrid coaxial-fibre (HFC) network rollout
Bewilderingly, the network is available for 10 shops at the commercial/retail strip but 10 can’t get connected.
According to NBN Co, the best indication is that he’ll get access in the “early new year”.
“It’s quite horrendous,” Mr Chiselett said.
“At the moment I’d be happy with a really crappy NBN service.”
Mr Chiselett had plans to expand his software development business 2 Bytes in summer, with the promise of large jobs in the USA and Europe.
The NBN was crucial for ‘cloud’ uploads and internet voice calls as part of doing business around the world.
His ADSL II+ internet doesn’t cut it. It makes the task of designing a website up to five times slower, for example.
Unable to expand on his workforce of six, Mr Chiselett is losing business of up to $100,000 a month.
“It would be hard to pick the worst NBN stuff-up but Mr Chiselett’s business in Springvale would surely be a contender for that prize,” Bruce MP Julian Hill recently told Federal Parliament.
“He has got a plan to employ more people in Springvale but the NBN Co cannot get its act together to punch through the wall.”
A year after the HFC freeze, about 1.3 million premises in NBN-ready areas were still unable to connect, he said.
Ironically Mr Chiselett says he was unable to view an online stream of Mr Hill’s speech due to poor internet speeds.
An NBN Co spokesperson said that heavy concrete cutting was required to build the coaxial lead-in at Mr Chiselett’s premises.
“This will be conducted in the early new year once an order has been placed.
“The end user will be able to place an order with their preferred retailer in the next week.”
Nearly all of Springvale is ready to connect but a “small percentage” of homes and businesses required “additional work” to connect, he said.
A spokesperson for Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said premises at the boundary of a service area would receive the rollout at different times “by necessity” due to the size and scope of the project.
“There will inevitably be premises where delivering the network is more difficult for NBN Co.
“In such cases, NBN Co … continues work to put in place the required infrastructure that will allow it to ‘switch on’ the remaining small pockets of premises as soon as it can.”
NBN Co was still on track to provide access to all homes and businesses by 2020, the spokesperson said.