A My Business story has sparked fiery criticism of the NBN rollout, after the network was labelled a “train wreck” that is increasingly distorting commercial property prices.
Simon Rose of Commercial Property Guide claimed that the NBN is not fit for purpose and suggested that the increasingly patchy access to it is having a material impact on property values and is increasingly as important as location – if not more so – when determining values and rental prices.
He also suggested that Melbourne businesses are languishing well behind Sydney in terms of their ability to connect to the NBN.
The story found its way to Reddit over the weekend, where it attracted 172 comments – most of which were people venting their anger about poor service delivery and rollout delays.
“Imagine using tax money to build telephone lines to some houses and then giving other houses a string and cup. Now imagine some of those houses with cup strings started a business that relied on communication to function,” lamented one.
A number of commenters noted that the situation is not just frustrating households browsing the internet or streaming movies but is having a serious impact on business productivity and profitability.
“The biggest problem is every single time it rains hard, the internet goes down because those sh***y Telstra copper pits get full of water and stop working. It once rained hard and we had no internet for a whole week at work,” said one Reddit user.
Another said: “I have FTTP and it p***es me off greatly that the rest of the country doesn't get it because it is amazing, especially the upload. If I'm working from home, uploading a large file to a server is almost like doing a local file copy… I don't think I will ever stop being angry about how they fucked up the NBN and it has guaranteed that the liberals will be at the bottom of my voting slip forever.”
A third suggested Australia has become “third world” in terms of internet infrastructure:
“I live in central Melbourne. I don't have NBN in my area, I get 8mb/s down if I’m lucky. Maybe 1mb/s up at the best. My internet drops out every hour, sometimes multiple times per hour. I moved here from the UK in 2012. Australia is the f***ing third world when it comes to internet infrastructure.”
Most of the anger was directed at politicians in Canberra, amid criticism that a vital piece of national infrastructure had been “sabotaged” as political point-scoring took precedence over national interest.
“Is it possible to take the Liberal Party to court over the purposeful scuttling of the NBN? It’s a nation’s greatest infrastructure project sabotaged on purpose for a political agenda,” said one user.
While the government bore the brunt of this criticism, after opting not to invest in fibre to the premises (FTTP) in a bid to save up-front cost, the opposition also drew criticism too.
“Kevin Rudd needs to take blame here too though. It’s not just the libs who killed the NBN,” one commenter said of the former prime minister.
“He should [have made] it an infrastructure rollout, not an investment. Making a set ROI was a dumb idea.”
The comments come after the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman released its annual report on consumer and small business complaints, in which it claimed the industry – including NBN Co – was “turning a corner” after posting a sharp fall in the volume of complaints in the June quarter.
But former head of Internet Australia Laurie Patton was quick to rubbish that claim, instead suggesting the drop was “most likely temporary”, just as a parliamentary committee was told that NBN Co is stifling competition among smaller internet service providers (ISPs) through impenetrable bureaucracy.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.
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