THE installation of almost 200 internet ports at Beechworth, marks an end to the town’s long wait for more connections.
Telstra Country Wide yesterday said the installation of the ports had been completed this month.
The Border Mail first reported the shortage of connections in July, when Telstra and the federal government refused any new ports, ahead of the NBN rollout.
Residents were told there would be no available ports for some time.
Indigo mayor Bernard Gaffney yesterday welcomed the “very good news”.
He praised Telstra for “coming to the party” and recognising the town’s needs.
“In the short term, there are now sufficient ports to cover the demand,” he said.
“In this day and age, people do rely on it.
“It makes Beechworth a much more attractive place to stay and live.”
Telstra Country Wide area manager for northern Victoria Steve Tinker said 180 ports had been installed, giving the town ADSL-4G mobility.
“That means the town’s now got the equivalent of any major city in Australia — it’s an important location,” he said.
“It has lots of visitors and good tourist numbers and it’s also home of Indigo Shire.”
Mr Tinker said Telstra’s decision to add connections “independently of the NBN”, was based on its customers’ needs.
“The demand has been there and, from Telstra’s perspective, we want to make sure that we look after our customers,” he said.
Wodonga and Lavington also received more ports last month.
Further ports will be installed in West Wodonga next month, while Harrietville is listed for March.
Among those celebrating was Beechworth resident and Indigo councillor Jenny O’Connor, who had been pushing for more services.
“I’m really pleased to see it’s finally happened, particularly with bushfire season coming,” she said.
“It’s taken more than a year to get to this point and we’re hoping Telstra continues to maintain a high level of service for people in rural areas.
“It’s a good reminder that we can’t afford to wait three or four years for them (the federal government) to sort out the NBN.”