Mr Ron and Ms Karen Garnsey of Wyongah have decided to share their 18 months of NBN drama and dissatisfaction in the hope that it will give others who may be experiencing similar problems the confidence to speak out.
Mr Garnsey said the only reason he decided to make the switch to the National Broadband Network was because he received a phone call from an NBN office in Tasmania.
“They said they would be in our area shortly and asked whether we would agree to do a trial, in return for which we would receive a 100Mb plan for the cost of a 25Mb plan, if we agreed to do some speed tests,” Mr Garnsey said.
“We did the trial for three months and it was all good, so we signed up for a two-year contract.
“At that time, the node, which is 600 metres from our house, was only being utilised by two people, and we were getting 76 mega bite speed on average,” he said.
As more people in the neighbourhood switched across to the NBN, the speed of the service decreased, at times to a crawl, and then the complete service breakdowns started.
“The first time it dropped out for a week, so we contacted Telstra (the Garnsey’s internet and phone service provider) and they said that they would inform the NBN and the issue would be addressed within five days, but then towards the end of the week, it just came back on,” he said.
According to Mr Garnsey, during the past three months, the service has been inoperable for about four weeks.
“Everyone in our neighbourhood has experienced similar problems,” he said.
He claimed that 39 houses in Tuggerawong Rd, Wyongah, had recently been without internet and phone services for a week.
“I had black hair at the start of this,” Mr Garnsey said.
On April 23, after over an hour on the phone with Telstra, he received a letter from the Telstra Operations Resolution Centre of Excellence, Hunter Region, confirming that the optimal speed for the service Mr Garnsey had signed up to was “currently not attainable”.
Telstra confirmed that they had put the issue to NBN for remediation.
“We might be given compensation, but that is not going to make the service go any better,” he said.
Then Mr Garnsey’s case manager left Telstra, so his case file was automatically closed and no further action taken until he called to find out where the matter was up to.
“It has been an unbelievable comedy of errors,” he said, questioning why he was continuing to pay for a home security system that was also inoperable during periods of NBN failure.
“I think it is disgusting.
“What about people at home on their own with a monitoring device for medical needs,” he said.
According to the letter from Telstra, the NBN is in a “co-existence period” in the Wyongah area.
“The co-existence period is a transition period for NBN to adjust its normal operations in your area,” the Telstra letter said.
“The speed of your service has been confirmed by our Assurance team to achieve 25Mb per second, which is lower than the minimum guaranteed speed provided by NBN.
“Telstra will confirm to you the outcome of the remediation undertaken by NBN Co and will also determine if a rebate should be applied to your service.”
Mr Garnsey said he did not want compensation.
“I have discussed this with Karen and we are not going to take compensation, we do not want their hush money.
“I am not after their money, I want to let people know that they are not doing their job properly,” he said.
Wyong Regional Chronicle contacted NBN Co, Telstra, the office of Emma McBride, Federal Member for Dobell, and the office of Senator Arthur Sinodinos for comment.
The NBN sent the following statement: “In early April of this year, nbn was notified by the retail service provider of slow speeds at this address.
“This issue was resolved by nbn, notwithstanding the impact of the co-existence period, as quoted in Telstra’s letter.
“Due to ongoing concerns, we are continuing to investigate with the retail service provider.
“To that end, any additional issues being experienced, need to be raised with the retailer.
“The retail service provider can also advise of the correct speed expectations and the appropriate plan for the residents.
“Residents and businesses should know they will be notified by nbn of when the end of co-existence will take place.”
Interview, May 30
Email, May 30
Ron Garnsey, Wyongah
Media statement, Jun 5
NBN Co media
Jackie Pearson, journalist