Think your internet is slow? Gurdies resident Rob Parsons has been trying for the past three years to get a basic ADSL connection.
Far off the superhighway
By Rob Parsons
October 22, 2016
THIS is what poor internet services look like to people in the Kernot, Woodleigh and Gurdies area:
- A teenager who applied online for a job at McDonald's was left in tears when the line failed and he was unable to complete his online interview.
- A local business takes two hours to do simple accounts and pay two bills online that would take most businesses a few minutes.
Since March this year a small group of us have been attempting to get better internet in Kernot and the surrounding areas. I live in The Gurdies and have been attempting without success for the past three years to get a simple ADSL connection.
Primary and secondary students who travel to and from school on a bus have restricted access to internet times at school as well as at home. Students in this situation do not qualify for extra satellite download allowance as do School of the Air students. Many have to travel after school to access limited public facilities (the Transaction Centre at Grantville). This reduces their access to educational materials, delivering poorer outcomes in school and the future.
For tertiary students, the local TAFE campus offers limited options. Distance courses are available but require high speed broadband access. Satellite connections are not fast enough and download limits too restrictive to allow this method of study to be effective without exceptional dedication. The extra satellite allowance for education does not apply to tertiary students. Some students in our area have been forced to move to the Bellarine Peninsula to study while others have withdrawn from their tertiary units because the internet requirements exceed their capacity. IT departments acknowledge satellite internet is causing them issues as they upgrade their systems, because students simply cannot access the larger materials they are now able to offer.
Small businesses in the area find it very difficult to operate without high speed broadband, especially with government departments enforcing online reporting. Currently online accounting and reporting is not compatible with satellite access (from one member’s personal experience).
Tourism is highly dependent on high speed broadband access to promote and book. Every farm is a small business and more are seeking to value add. Without this option businesses will not reach their potential, costing revenue to all levels of government.
High speed internet would assist the health of Bass Coast residents. The area around Woodleigh to Grantville, in particular, is poorly serviced by both physical and mental health services. The presence of high speed broadband would allow increased utilisation of video conferencing and online resources.
Government departments, including Centrelink, are conducting more and more business online. In many cases the only way to access services is via an online portal. This access assumes high speed broadband connections that do not exist for many people and can result in issues such as missed reporting and failure of document submission that have devastating consequences for low income earners and businesses. Any errors are usually deemed to be the fault of the individual or business.
Farmers cannot use the latest technology in their agricultural businesses, and residents cannot use simple email, smart TVs or home security technology that is available to nearly everyone else.
World-wide, property values are approximately 20 per cent lower where high speed broad band is not installed. In the UK there are now properties that real estate agents won’t list due to lack of high speed broadband. Translated to Bass Coast, that is a direct revenue reduction to the shire as property values fall. Already properties in this area are on the market solely due to the poor internet.
So I am contacting the council and its councillors, the State Government, the Federal Government, Telstra and the NBN, to implore them to do something about the black hole that surrounds our area. Please listen to the people in our local community.
Six years ago, it was suggested that Bass Coast Council push for Fibre to the Premises to every premise in Bass Coast. Imagine what an edge that would give the shire in terms of attracting tech businesses, tertiary institutions and industry specialists. Imagine what it could have meant for our tourism industry and farmers, our existing and potential small to medium business, our healthcare, our kids and our future. In Dalby, Queensland, the local residents have now organised fixed wireless internet for their area.
While internet is not the shire’s responsibility, it is in a position to advocate strongly to NBN but we need our councillors to understand how important the issue is. To us it is about access, but to the shire it should be about growth revenue and good economic management. We need to let all candidates know what is (not) happening in our area.
And from another Kernot resident “I've come to the conclusion now that unless we get some sort of confirmation that we will have decent internet in the future, once my son has finished school next year we will be looking at moving home and business. I can't keep trying to run my business like this.”
Thank you Cr Clare Le Serve for your comments below:
“I think it's a disgrace that areas like Kernot have no internet connection or reliable service in this day and age. Council's role would be to support any new permit for a tower that could support any application. Red WiFi sounds like a workable solution. I am no 'techno head' but any company that can resolve this would have my support. I hope that helps explain my position”.
Thank you Geoff Ellis for your comments which I am sure our next bunch of councillors will endorse:
“Since I started hanging around over that side (Waterline and Kernot-Woodleigh Glen Forbes) I have been amazed at how Inverloch-Cowes focused the papers, the council and the utility providers are. Whatever happens we really need to get this changed. Just because you live at Kernot or Jam Jerrup or Tenby Point doesn't mean that you or your children should be disadvantaged.”
To all concerned Bass Coast residents, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the full document to Bass Coast Council, Victorian and Federal MPs, The NBN and Telstra. Let’s get some dialogue going.
October 25, 2016
Nice of Mr McComb to pass on the result of his conversation with technicians installing the NBN cable. I concur that most of the top third of the shire would have to travel to experience such rare delight but that's the point that we make. As for referring to the efforts of the local press as "noise", well, often the only way to get action is to make as much noise as possible. In Canberra, no one can hear you type.
Geoff Ellis, Wattle Bank
Independent Candidate for Western Port Ward
October 23, 2016
Maybe Rob should check internet in Cowes. We gave up on ADSL, more time dropped out than connected. Easiest check is with Shire free wifi Phillip Island, gave up trying until recently, for MotoGP, to find that reward of patience is access to logon screen but no further. Cowes is meant to be a tourist destination but you almost need to resort to ticker tape telex.
Sure, new estates enjoy full blown FTH (fibre to the home) NBN. But corresponding with the mighty Malcolm Turnbull when he was still comms minister, asking for exception here because FTN (fibre to the node), for final run to users, uses existing old copper wires, salt corrosion saturated, he said no FTH, not even to so called cultural centre or library, even though NBN fibre is under footpath.
So, sadly, looks like we’re investing in technology not considered future proof for a developing country, as commented by one of technicians, camped out on street corners, for weeks on end, pulling short new bits of copper to one box, before extending to main FTN box.
So wireless broadband it is, except when tourists are here and bandwidth is chock a block, not even snail pace. Papers showing more noise for Cowes-Inverloch doesn’t mean we’re any better off.
Meanwhile, in genuine tourist destinations, in other countries, they appear to be already installing for 10Gbps.
Bernie McComb, Cowes