OUR SAY: NBN installation must improve, and quickly

TIME and time again, we’re hearing about NBN installation headaches and the simplicity of some of these problems beggars belief as to why they remain a problem.

Tim Halsey has had a number of things replaced to solve his speed issues and still cannot achieve the speeds he’s paying for because the copper is sub-standard.

Many people aren’t even getting that far.

One reader recounted her experience of being connected to the internet but losing her phone service only to find out later that one lead had not been plugged in correctly.

An elderly couple told us they were charged for NBN even though it had not been connected and were without internet for six weeks.

And if you think sticking with the good ol’ ADSL might be a better option until the copper is switched off, one woman told us when she moved house, her internet had still not been connected three weeks after she settled at her new address.

That’s not even going into the time spent on the phone, incorrect advice from ISPs on what services are available where, technicians missing installation appointments and days taken off work for nothing, followed by more time on the phone.

If mobile phone plans had enough data included to last households for the time they’re without internet, there would not be so much of a problem, but in an online world, three gigabytes simply don’t cut the mustard.

The shortfall is not good enough, but what is at the root of the problem? Not enough people answering the phone? Not enough people carrying out installations? Insufficient training? Inadequate technology? It’s hard to tell.

What is known is that Orange is not the first roll-out area. In fact, the first release sites were launched in 2011, plenty of time for ISPs to get their protocols together, irrespective of the technology used.

There are a few things people can do to minimise internet hiccups – walk-in stores are more likely to have staff who know the area and what services are on offer and most ISPs have mobile internet modems, which are slower and more expensive, but quick and easy to sign up for until a permanent service is available.  

As the rollout continues, ISPs are only going to be under greater stress to meet the need. In the end the NBN offers the promise of a superior service and that’s something we’re all banking on.