Wodonga man welcomes telecommunications review after NBN ‘saga’

A West Wodonga retiree has welcomed Communications Minister Mitch Fifield’s plan to introduce a review into telecommunications complaints, after a six-month “ordeal” with the National Broadband Network.

Garry Knight said he was initially connected to the NBN on October 31, but weeks later was told there was a problem with the infrastructure and being 1.5 kilometres from the node, his house was not serviceable.

“I am just over the whole saga,” he said. “It’s frustrating to begin with and then after weeks and weeks you just feel like giving up.”

An NBN spokesperson would not comment on why Mr Knight’s home was connected to the NBN when the node was 1.5 kilometres away.

His provider, Telstra, tried to connect him to ADSL 2 or ADSL, but a spokesman confirmed the address was too far from the local exchange.

Mr Knight said despite complaining to Telstra, NBN and Cathy McGowan nothing had been resolved and instead he was relying on a more-costly wireless service.

He said he never received a response from NBN after he complained.

Another complaint lodged with the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman was ‘closed’ as they do not deal with infrastructure.

“What we are seeing now is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of issues,” he said.

An ombudsman spokeswoman said their jurisdiction did not cover areas where there was no infrastructure. 

Six months later, Mr Knight said he had no idea when he will get the service he was told was ready last October.

NBN spokeswoman Kasey Ellison said Mr Knight should be connected in July and confirmed work must be done before then.

Mr Fifield announced the review on Monday after an ombudsman’s report documented 22,827 complaints about services on the NBN. 

These complaints related to providers and NBN Co.

“No matter who the responsible party is, the complaints figures are simply too high – the current model for protecting consumers needs reform,” he said.

Mr Knight hopes the review makes providers and NBN Co more accountable.