NBN Co disrupts newsagency businesses

With just a few days till the cutoff date for registration for the first lot of regions switching over to NBN, things are getting very interesting.

To clarify, this cutoff date is solely for registering for the switchover—NBN Co has said that once registered, the customers connection would continue on copper until the new system was installed. But how long will that take?

In the May issue of National Newsagent (pg 24),we spoke to some newsagents in the affected areas in Tasmania and Victoria, and they told us about the difficulties they are facing due to the NBN rollover. As we went to print, everyone we had spoken to were having problems with the installment.

Speaking to the Sue Sherriff, owner of George Town News and Lotto just last week, it became clear that the situation had not really changed.

Sue told us that the new NBN wires had finally been installed at the shopping strip where her business is located. The catch, however, is that they were installed at the front of her store, making them highly visible and accessible to anyone passing by.

NBN wires

Not only does this ruin the appearance of the shopfront, it’s also a huge security risk—it wouldn’t take much more than a swing of an axe to cut through the cables to disable the phone line and security system, once NBN is switched on.

And even this took months to be completed. George Town News and Lotto hasn’t actually been switched to NBN yet—Sue says the technicians have been cancelling and rescheduling appointments for months. Even last week, Sue said they were scheduled to come in the previous Wednesday, but a week later, there had not been a single technician sighted in the vicinity. On a positive note, they have trialed their Tattersalls system with NBN, and it appears to work without any issues—Sue hopes that the rest of the rollover process will be just as smooth, though it is not looking very likely at this point.

And this is just the story of one business affected by the rollover.

Sue told us that their local bakery, which switched over to NBN recently, found that calls made through phone lines which were not connected to NBN were not coming through, resulting in them having to divert all calls to a mobile phone during the Easter long weekend, a peak trading period for them, so that their customers were able to reach them to order baked goods. Their local hairdresser also experienced similar problems around Valentine’s Day.

Is your business or home located in a region going through the NBN rollover? Leave a comment below about your experience.

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