NBN RESPONSE: Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker.
NBN RESPONSE: Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker. Trevor Veale

Hartsuyker responds to questions on NBN rollout

THE Nationals' Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker has responded to a number of questions in relation to the NBN rollout in Bellingen.

Residents have reported a digital divide in the town with some struggling on an overworked fixed wireless network and the rest to receive FTTC (Fibre to the Curb) which is expected to be rolled out in January next year.

With the wireless network relying on line of sight (or 'near line of sight' as NBN are now advising) to the tower at Scotchman's Hill, residents are experiencing vastly different speeds.

We put the following questions to Mr Hartsuyker and these were his responses:

Q: It seems clear that the towers are struggling already, are you worried what will happen when more households switch over?

A: NBN reports some congestion on the towers at Bellingen, as indeed is occurring in many parts of the country. Services at Bellingen are being delivered by the existing towers. Tower upgrades will be taking place around the country, including at Bellingen, to ensure they can continue to deliver as traffic increases.

Q: Last year residents were promised speeds of 100/40Mbps. Will you stand by that commitment even if it means directing NBN to extend the Fibre to the Curb rollout to the remainder of the town?

A: The undertaking to provide 100/40Mbps was made by NBN, but that product was subsequently withdrawn by the company because of the cost. The Coalition's promise is for minimum speeds of 25Mbps.

Q: Given the NBN has told elderly and sick people in the town on fixed wireless to remain on copper, will you guarantee that ADSL and telephone will remain in place after 2020?

A: The copper network will continue to operate in areas served by NBN's fixed wireless and satellite networks. Consumers can retain their existing phone service or choose to access voice and broadband services over NBN's infrastructure. The maintenance of ADSL in satellite and fixed wireless footprints will be a commercial decision for the various retail service providers.

Q: Do you agree that it is acceptable to business and consumers in the Sunset and Hospital Hill estates to be charged $20,000 to get a service that is supplied free to neighbours 100m away?

A: No, and that is not the case. A connection capable of meeting the minimum standards set for the NBN is free. However, if a potential customer wants to seek a technology upgrade from NBN to achieve greater speeds, then they will need to make arrangements with NBN and pay for that. The price is subject to a range of variables.