Residents from the New South Wales community of Wamboin are planning to dig their own trenches to secure faster internet, claiming the National Broadband Network is failing them.
Wamboin is just 20 kilometres from Canberra’s Parliament House, but residents say they have to use the NBN’s Sky Muster satellite service, which was designed to deliver internet to rural areas.
Local Jon Gough said the service was slow and unreliable.
“It tends to drop out when there’s light rain or heavy rain and strong winds,” he said.
“The speeds max out at 25 Mbps, and that’s the maximum you can get to. The reality is it’s more like between 15 and 20 Mbps – when it’s working.”
The satellite packages also cost a lot more than other NBN services, with a $200-per-month plan only delivering about 120GB of data.
“We believed NBN was going to provision services to most of the population at a reasonable rate and breach a digital divide,” Mr Gough said.
“What’s actually happening is the digital divide is widening because of the services.”
Another Wamboin resident Glenn Archer said, in the era of content streaming services, satellite options were unusable.
“I think that’s one of the things people don’t understand much about the Sky Muster service – it has very limited downloads, and you’re constrained in terms of data,” he said.
“We’re seeing this massive move to Netflix and Stan and these sorts of streaming services, and that’s becoming the norm for how people consume media.
“For those on Sky Muster that’s completely impractical.”
Mr Archer said Wamboin residents were promised that the NBN would be a superior service to ADSL connections – but the reality was very different.
“It’s way more expensive, it has a 10th of the data capacity we had with ADSL, so we’re actually stepping backwards instead of going forwards,” he said.