Bendigo copper network not the source of NBN faults, NBN Co claims

NBN general manager state corporate affairs Sam Dimarco visited Bendigo to discuss issues with the rollout. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
NBN general manager state corporate affairs Sam Dimarco visited Bendigo to discuss issues with the rollout. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

THE majority of National Broadband Network faults occur within the premises itself rather than as a result of the copper network, NBN Co believes.

NBN general manager state corporate affairs Sam Dimarco visited Bendigo on Tuesday to discuss the rollout and to give more details about some of the issues facing consumers.

He claimed that just 2 per cent of the faults can be attributed to problems with the copper network, while more than 50 per cent are the result of modem placement, old internal cabling, out-of-date devices or software, and other issues within the home or business.

The visit was a response to a number of public complaints from residents across Bendigo about the NBN rollout – many of which claimed the response from NBN Co and their retailer had been insufficient.

Mr Dimarco said they were working with service providers to improve customer service.

“There’s 158 different service providers out there,” he said.

“There’s a big program at work with the service providers, where we’re giving them the tools and the feedback on how to deal with issues, and to isolate whether it’s in our network or their’s.

“Some organisations are more mature than others. This is not a new problem for the likes of Optus or Telstra. They’ve had the same issues with ADSL, where someone says they have a fault, and if they did their diagnosis over the phone, they could solve the customer’s issues on the spot.”

Mr Dimarco used the example of East Bendigo business Eagle Foods, which experienced faults immediately after connecting to the NBN. After almost three months, it was found the fault was with a power supply interrupting their modem.

Related: Businesses speak of NBN connection issues

Other common faults include having modems right next to power switches, appliances or in cupboards.

Wireless routers can also reduce speeds by up to 70 per cent, while older computers and devices do not have the capacity to receive the maximum speed.

Mr Dimarco said it was a “myth” that the copper network was to blame for the problems in Bendigo.

“When we roll out into an area, we could have been spending the last six months out there doing testing to make sure that the last leg of copper that we rely on is up to speed,” he said.

“If we find something that’s not up to scratch, then we replace it prior to going live because when we go live and flick the switch, we have to guarantee the speeds to our customers.

“It’s not to say that there won’t be faults in the network, but what we do stand by is that if there is a physical fault in the network, we’ll fix that.”

Just under 60 per cent of the NBN has been rolled out in Bendigo, with a further 7400 premises to be connected in the next month in Kangaroo Flat, Quarry Hill and East Bendigo.

The last 25 per cent – mainly in Eaglehawk and Epsom – will be connected by mid-2018. Areas of Maiden Gully are still to be connected, using a range of delivery methods.

Mr Dimarco said all customers in Bendigo will be able to access speeds of at least 25 megabits per second – a speed that over 80 per cent of users in Australia had signed up to.

Related: Fireworks at lack of access to fixed-line NBN

Only 4 per cent had purchased packages of 100 megabits per second.

He said there was still scope to improve internet speeds once the rollout was complete.

“With fixed wireless, we’re going to increase it from 50 mbps/20 mbps to 100 mbps/40 mbps, and it also has a 1 megabit path to go down,” Mr Dimarco said.

“Excluding satellite, they will all have a capacity of 100 mbps. And they will all have an upgrade path in the future.

“We know that at 1000 metres of copper, we can sit here and guarantee a minimum service of 25/5 megabits per second.”