MP receives 3250 responses to Bendigo NBN survey after sending out 20,000 forms to residents

Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters discusses her NBN report with a constituent. Picture: NONI HYETT
Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters discusses her NBN report with a constituent. Picture: NONI HYETT

MEMBER for Bendigo Lisa Chesters has used an NBN user survey to heap further scorn on the rollout in Bendigo, but conceded Labor would have to spend “a lot” to fulfill its promise to upgrade the network if it wins the next election.

Ms Chesters sent out about 20,000 surveys to premises in the Bendigo electorate that are eligible for the NBN, and received 3250 back.

Of those, 75 per cent had complaints about their internet connection, 73 per cent experienced “unreliable service, slow or unusable speeds and constant drop outs” and 80 per cent of Sky Muster customers had slow or unusable speeds.

The survey also found that 27 per cent of respondents were still connected to ADSL.

Ms Chesters compiled the results into a report, and said even though people who were unhappy with their service were the ones likely to respond, it was still a “damning” indictment on the NBN in Bendigo.

“It’s still pretty damning that there’s over 3250 surveys that have come back and three out of four of those have reported a bad experience,” she said.

“The problem is that the government ripped up the original plan. Bendigo was supposed to get 90 per cent of households and businesses with fibre-to-the-premises. 

“Businesses would not have these problems today if we had got the original Labor plan of FTTP.”

Some of the responses described problems with their initial connections and having multiple technicians visit without a solution.

Images were also provided of exposed wires underneath doors and in a front garden.

Other specific concerns focused on dropouts affecting business operations.

Ms Chesters said Labor would give eligible remaining houses fibre-to-the-curb connections, but the Bendigo rollout is likely to be complete by the next election.

“I won’t lie to you, it’s going to cost a lot to fix the government’s mess but we have to,” she said.

NBN Co earlier stated that FTTC would be used – where possible – in a number of Bendigo suburbs that have yet to have their rollout complete, including Eaglehawk, Maiden Gully, Kangaroo Flat and Epsom.

Ebony Aitken, head of NBN local Victoria and Tasmania, said it was important to keep in touch with service providers should there be any issues.

“Construction activities are either underway or will commence soon to connect the remaining 12,000 homes and businesses in the City of Greater Bendigo to the nbn broadband access network,” she said.

“Many people are not aware that for the first time in history they have a choice of speeds when connecting to a plan on the NBN access network through a phone or internet provider.”

Last week, 25 people attended NBN community engagement sessions in Bendigo. Last year, about 300 attended.

The government described its NBN rollout as more affordable and completed sooner than Labor, which Ms Chesters disputed.

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