PROBLEMS with the National Broadband Network (NBN) seem to becoming more and more like common health ailments: if you don’t have one yourself, you know someone who does.
For around a decade now the much-hyped NBN, which was supposed to send the nation hurtling towards a glittering, technology-driven future, has been a problem child for many.
Telcos blame the NBN for their woes, NBN Co. blames telcos, everybody blames the government of the day and the government of the day blame their predecessors.
But the most frequent and understandable complaints come from those the much-maligned service was supposed to best serve: regional Australians.
Orange residents have joined in the chorus of complaints: months of waiting for it to become available in your street; multiple connection appointments cancelled and rescheduled; case management by overseas call centre staff and extended periods of temperamental or no connection.
Residents report of disrupted phone service, dropouts, trouble during severe weather and less-than-optimum speeds.
And that’s just the people who have already hooked in to the network.
In response to an NBN story earlier this week the Central Western Daily’s Facebook page has been inundated by homeowners and business operators who say they are still unable to connect.
These are people who are frustrated, plain and simple. People who believe they have been denied something that was promised to them.
It all seems a long way from the dream of high-speed internet connections that would to carry the nation into the future.
Regional centres like Orange have long been singled out in the NBN sales pitch, with promises that more people will be able to live, work and play outside of metropolitan areas because the technology would allow it.
But where does that all sit now, when residents are still complaining about a lack of access despite assurances from NBN Co. that the infrastructure is in place for them to do so?
In the 1990s then US vice-president Al Gore dubbed the internet “the information superhighway”.
As things stand, if the National Broadband Network was a road through Orange, it would need a roadwork sign reading “expect delays”.