News

NBN nexus vexes local

By Charmayne Allison

A LOCAL dad has been left in the dark after NBN refused him a connection, claiming his house was ‘‘too far from the node’’.

Echuca’s Rob Henson is outraged, as all his neighbours on Schoeffel Dr have been granted connections despite several being further from the node than him.

Only 400m from the node himself, Rob’s house is well within the maximum allowed distance of 1.2km from the node.

He believes the source of his troubles dates to years before NBN, when he decided not to connect the copper phone line to his house.

‘‘Fibre to the node was installed down Fehring Lane and everyone’s phone lines went to it,’’ he said.

‘‘But because I didn’t actually have a phone line working at the time, for some reason they said it’s not worth it and didn’t hook us up. They laid the copper wire from the house to the pit and from the pit to the node, but didn’t connect it all up.

‘‘So when I went to sign up for NBN they said ‘the technology is not available at your premises’.

‘‘Essentially they’re just looking back, relying on the decision of that one tech to say we’re not eligible and refusing to hook our house up to the node. They’re not even sending a tech out themselves to see if it’s true or not.’’

What started with a simple phone call became a wild goose-chase as Rob was sent from the NBN complaints department to Telstra and back again.

‘‘When I asked what the NBN complaints department could do to fix it, they said they were just there for historical purposes,’’ he said.

An NBN rep offered him fixed wireless on his roof instead.

‘‘They said it was as good as fibre to the node. But if it’s as good as fibre to the node, why is the government paying all this money to put fibre underground?’’ Rob said.

‘‘My phone line runs from the house to a pit at the end of the driveway. All a technician needs to do is come out, identify which pair are my pair and hook them up.

‘‘But they purely don’t want to send a tech out to do the work. I’ve had several Telstra techs scratch their heads over why our house isn’t hooked up, they can’t figure it out.

‘‘I thought NBN was for everybody after the huge amount the government paid for it. But it seems NBN is a law unto themselves.’’

NBN spokesperson Russell Kelly said they had discussed connection options with Rob and were working towards arranging a suitable connection to his property as soon as possible.