The Dorset Council stated it lacks adequate resources to sell the benefits of the National Broadband Network (NBN) to residents and businesses.
At a parlimentary hearing in Launceston last Thursday, the Dorset Council, which covers Scottsdale, one of the first NBN release sites, was disappointed about being left in the dark about the NBN rollout so far.
“Having gone through this process for the last year and a half, there were and still are no resources really to do with the NBN,” Dorset Council spokes person Ally Mercer, said.
She complained about not having a dedicated liaison officer from the NBN up until recently to assist in the communication side for the next phase of the NBN rollout.
The Dorset Council is the go-to point for many residents and businesses in the region when it comes to finding out information on the NBN but it lacks the resources to aid enquiries, according to Mercer.
While the council often get together with sustainable development groups in the state to discuss the NBN, they do not have dedicated resources and are scratching their heads over how they will manage the network rollout in each of their townships, she said.
The Tasmanian Government had previously invested $1 million into NBN4Business, a group charged with flogging the NBN to businesses in the state. The group had planned 17 workshops in 12 weeks last year but gave up after five sessions. The remaining workshops, one of which was scheduled for Scottsdale, have been postponed, according to NBN4Business.
“From the feedback I’ve received from businesses in my areas, [the NBN4Business program] was a mixed success,” Mercer said.
The Dorset Council also reported 70 per cent of residents were interested in taking up the NBN. Mercer told the parlimentary hearing the main reason the remainder 30 per cent chose not to take it up initially was due to lack of information.
“I can say I still receive one maybe two phone calls per week from people who didn’t take it up and now seem to understand more and are looking to have it in their house,” she said.
Consumer group, Digital Tasmania, chimed in on the issue at the parlimentary hearing and supported the Dorset Council’s view that Tasmanian residents were ill-informed about the NBN.
In addition, the group raised concerns over NBN Co’s plans to switch off the copper network in Tasmanian locations that already have ADSL services but was left out of the NBN fibre footprint. Those residents will be downgraded to an inferior wireless service, according to Digital Tasmania spokesperson, Andrew Connor.
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