DISCONNECTED Bendigo residents will soon be hooked up with faster internet thanks to a major federal government spend of almost half a billion dollars to increase regional and rural NBN connections.
The $480 million for NBN Co will permit increased data allowances and products for about 300,000 premises in the coming weeks, with further upgrades to follow.
Consumers in the fixed wireless footprint, which includes properties in a number of areas in the Bendigo electorate, will benefit from access to increased download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps), with up to 85 per cent able to access 250 Mpbs.
"This is a legacy problem of the previous government," she said.
"The former Labor government had built the towers, and it was up to the incoming Liberal government to switch them on.
"We then had a two year battle to get the towers on the north side of Bendigo switched on.
"They finally were but they didn't deliver the speeds that were promised."
Ms Chesters said community members had been expressing their frustration to her in regards to their slow internet connection.
"Lots of them have raised concerns with me about the patchy internet service they've got," she said.
"I've lost count of the number of times people said 'oh the kids are home from school, I'm not going to be able to do any work' or 'I can't log on to my account so I'll give you a call tomorrow'.
"That is such a disruption, it's a huge hit on people's productivity."
Ms Chesters said the growing community frustration could be linked back to the delays in turning the Huntly tower on.
"This was one of the first ones to be built but one of the last to be turned on," the Bendigo MP said.
"But now I feel we're finally at a stage where we can say to people that the original plan around NBN is starting to come to fruition."
As part of the upgrades, copper NBN wires that are found to be degraded will be replaced with fibre-optic wiring.
"So some areas in our region will benefit as we start to methodically repair the damage that the previous government has done," Ms Chesters said.
"Where we've got good copper that's still doing the job that will stay, but where we've got bad copper, that's not doing the job, that will start to be replaced."
The upgrades will see Labor attempt to deliver on its election promise to reconnect regional areas.
"It's about trying to end the digital divide between metro and regional," Ms Chesters said.
"Making sure that regardless of where you live in Australia, you have a decent connectivity option."
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