WITH two teenage children, one about to begin his Higher School Certificate, Orange mother Katherine Mitchell never imagined moving into Orange would mean the ease in which she and her family accessed the internet would take a giant step back.
But it did, and to many other families in Orange, it already has.
The Mitchells now reside on Quinlan Run, just north of the Orange Showground, and while the relative proximity of her new home means she’s just two kilometres on a direct plane to the central business district of Orange, her only point of internet access is via her iPhone’s hot spot.
Mrs Mitchell’s house is one without an ADSL port, ADSL being short for asymmetric digital subscriber line, a type of DSL broadband communications technology used for connecting to the internet
She has rung Telstra, the main provider, but with the National Broadband Network’s imminent arrival, the telecommunications giant has ceased production on any more ADSL ports, meaning new houses across the region are being built, but boast little to no access to broadband internet.
Without ADSL and the NBN’s arrival date still up in the air, the Mitchells are in worldwide web limbo.
“I’d just never heard of or thought people had trouble with internet like this,” Mrs Mitchell said.
“I thought it was as easy as ringing your provider and getting it connected. If [Telstra] have got the monopoly of the market then they should be supplying the service. I just don’t think it’s fair, and I know we’re not the only ones in this position.”
The lack of broadband access has resulted in Mrs Mitchell dropping her two children - a daughter in year 9 and a son in year 11 - to their Orange Anglican Grammar School early in the morning to help complete homework tasks.
She also picks them up and lets them access her internet at work to assist with school work.
Mrs Mitchell said she would look into using portable internet sticks that carried a hot spot, linking it to multiple devices, but that could cost her family anywhere from $120 to $180 a month, depending on how many downloads were used during the period.
She said ADSL would allow unlimited downloads for $50 a month.
“Portable is obviously an option, but we live less than two kilometres from the CBD of Orange,” she said.
“It’s not the provider, because some houses in our street have the ports and others don’t, it’s the infrastructure. Telstra has said it’s not putting in any more of the infrastructure until the NBN is rolled out ... but we’re in the dark about when that is as well.”