CUT OFF: Roadcraft chief executive officer Sharlene Makin has had a terrible experience with the NBN.
CUT OFF: Roadcraft chief executive officer Sharlene Makin has had a terrible experience with the NBN. Rowan Schindler

UPDATE: NBN responds to criticism of Gympie service

UPDATE JUNE 22: NBN Senior State Corporate Affairs manager Kylie Lindsay yesterday responded to criticism of the NBN and Telstra by some Gympie region residents.

"Many people do not realise nbn is only a small fraction of the end-to-end network that connects a home or business to their internet content or the other end of the telephone," Ms Lindsay said.

"For example, in some cases nbn is just the last 10 to 15 kilometres of network, with the retailer service providers having a far greater stretch of network that must be invested in and maintained to support the user's experience.

"Speed and reliability issues can be due to a number of factors that are outside of nbn's control, such as the quality of the modem in the home, how much bandwidth the service provider has purchased, their network design and even how much bandwidth they purchased in overseas cables to access content from abroad.

"In the case of Roadcraft, Telstra determined it was actually an issue with the business's own equipment and the problem was rectified.

"This is why it is important the residents and businesses with any concerns should contact their retail service provider in the first instance, who will work with them to determine a solution to their issue."

NBN builds the infrastructure and sells access and network capacity in bulk to providers, who then bundle up a set of services and plans to sell to homes and businesses.

"nbn has a contractual relationship and commitments to our customers (the retail service providers) who in turn have a relationship and commitments to their customers.

"There is no direct relationship between nbn (the wholesaler) and residents and businesses, which is why it's important that residents and businesses with concerns should contact their service provider in the first instance.

"Retail Service Providers manage communication and issue rectification with their customers, relaying information on our behalf at times. It's also important because there can often be issues affecting a service that is outside of the nbn network, like equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how each service provider designs its network."

EARLIER JUNE 21: THE National Broadband Network has been rolled out across the country and Gympie customers are not happy with the service.

Gympie is at the heart of the trouble afflicting the NBN, with a story focused on the region's dodgy internet aired on the ABC this week.



Roadcraft chief executive officer Sharlene Makin spoke to the ABC and later told The Gympie Times she was not happy with the services she is paying for.

"We are already paying for speeds of "up to" 100 mbps," Ms Makin said.

She said her business was getting speeds as low as 0.9mbps and a maximum of 58mbps, or often no internet at all.

"A Telstra technician tested the existing infra- structure and he showed us a screenshot of the report showing a maximum capability of 68 mbps," she said.

"When you lose power to your home, you don't pay for it, but when you lose internet, you're still paying for it.

"So it appears Telstra are anything but transparent or honest.

"It isn't a two-way street."

Gympie Brakes and Mechanical's Kaye Patane said her business had been significantly impacted by the move to the NBN.

Mrs Patane said the business she and her husband run had had periods of no phone or internet, and customers had been unable to contact them.

"We didn't want to take on the NBN but we were told the phone lines wouldn't change if we did," she said.

"We went through three modems and were disconnected every second day at one stage. Internet was as slow as a brick.

"It has been delivering nothing but frustration.

"I've been struggling to get them to send a technician out.

"The call centre was through India and they couldn't properly under- stand us and our problems."

Customers who called the business heard a voice message advising that the business's phone line had been disconnected, and the Patanes were frantic to ensure customers did not think they were out of business.

"If you can't rely on your reputation you lose your business," Mrs Patane said.

"The Telstra manager in Sydney said to us 'I want you to monitor the missed calls you get'. How do you even do that?"

Mrs Patane said the couple was offered $500 in credit, which they never received. A few phone calls later, another operator offered another $500.

"We had never received the first sum of credit in the first place," she said.

FRUSTRATED AND ANGRY: Gympie Brakes and Mechanical’s Mario Patane is angry with the NBN and has also been targeted by a scam, who pretended to help him.
FRUSTRATED AND ANGRY: Gympie Brakes and Mechanical’s Mario Patane is angry with the NBN and has also been targeted by a scam, who pretended to help him. Renee Albrecht

The Patanes had insult added to injury when a scam contacted them, masquerading as the NBN Co, to extract money and information from the frustrated business owners.

Mr Patane received the call and initially believed

the person on the other

end of the line before Michael, the couple's son, saved the day.

"Last Wednesday we would have lost everything if it wasn't for Michael," Mrs Patane said.

"I've been on the phone with Telstra for hours, I've been broken down to tears.

"When Mario got the phone call (the scam) he was impressed with their professionalism and he fell for it.

"They knew everything and had all our information."

Mrs Patane said the business managed to avoid paying money, but had to buy a new computer and contact their bank.

She said they would not have taken the bait had Telstra not left them frustrated.

Gympie Party Hire's Anna Reid said she had similar issues.

The business switched to the NBN on Tuesday, June 13, and their service was lost on the Friday.

"After going back and forward (with Telstra), I was then asked if I had been talking about moving my service to another supplier, which I hadn't," Ms Reid said.

"Another company had claimed our connection without our consent to give to another business.

"Very messy, and we still don't know who is at fault. Telstra, other telco or NBN.

"The worst thing was though that the phone diversion stopped working properly, and they didn't know how to fix it so we

had customers getting a message saying "this number is not connected" when they dialled our business line.

"Thankfully this was sorted relatively quickly,

as they said it could take

up to five business days - this would have be extremely damaging to our business."

Ms Reid had her phone and internet return three days later on the Monday.

"Fortunately our issue seems to have been rectified rather quickly."

Gympie Times

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