Premises in Tasmania earmarked for wireless coverage under the National Broadband Network (NBN) that already have existing ADSL connections should be able to retain their services, according to Digital Tasmania.
At a parliamentary committee hearing in Lauceston, the consumer advocacy group voiced its concern for communities residing close to towns within the fibre footprint that will be receiving a fixed wireless service instead.
Telstra signed an $11 billion deal with NBN Co last year to gradually decommission its copper network as the NBN is implemented.
Fibre promises speeds of up to 100Mbps while the wireless downstream speed is around 12Mbps. Some of these locations excluded from the fibre rollout already have ADSL services which deliver equal or superior speeds compared to wireless.
“[Residents] shouldn’t lose their ADSL service until there is a fibre-based service available,” Digital Tasmania spokesperson, Andrew Connor, said. “The economy of scale of running an ADSL service in just some smaller places is clearly uneconomical.
“But if people are going from a service of 10-20Mbps downstream back to a 12Mbps service of a fixed wireless then we don’t find it very appealing.”
Connor highlighted the townships of Hillwood, Dilston and Windemere with 750 premises in total as an example of communities which will have their services downgraded for being outside the fibre footprint.
“They are so close to the edge of the City but they are denied the possibility of using the fibre network,” he said. “That is why we need to have an input in the decision making of NBN Co either through the business channels or political sides so these townships do get the proper services they deserve.”
Digital Tasmania is calling for more clarity from Government and NBN Co on whether consumers have an input on whether their towns can go from a planned wireless or satellite rollout to a fibre one.
The consumer group is hoping NBN Co will decide to expand its fibre coverage in Tasmania.
Digital Tasmania was formed three years ago to address the lack of competition in the ADSL broadband space as a result of Telstra dominance in the Tasmanian market.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @spandaslui