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Broadband backlog has customers fuming

On hold: Michelle Ralston has no internet connection two weeks after signing a National Broadband Network contract. Picture: Marina NeilINTERNET service providers have been unable to cope with an unprecedenteddemand for connection to the National Broadband network, resulting in a deluge of complaints from Hunter subscribersabout poor or non-existent service.
Nanjing Night Net

Far from an information revolution, some customers have completely lost their internet connectionafter signing up. Others have complained their service has dropped to a snail’s pace.

“The whole thing is a joke. I feel we were misled. We were told were would be able to get speeds of up to 100 megabytes per second, but we’ve got zilch. It’s been like that for two weeks now,” Warners Bay resident Michelle Ralston said.

More than 10,000 people have have signed up to NBN in northernLake Macquariesince the service was switched on in that area in September.It is the strongest uptake recorded inany region in Australia to date.

NBN Co.spokesman Tony Brown said testing conducted last Friday showed98 per centof connections can reach at least 25mpbs, and 75 per cent can reach up to 100mpbs or more.

“The key problem is not the network, but the internet service providers have not purchased enough bandwidth,” he said. “There has been a very heavy demand for data, which they haven’t been able to meet.”

Ms Ralstonsaid she was particularly incensed by the buck-passing between the telcos and the NBN.

“Optus told me that an NBN technician was coming out. It’s happened three times now and no-one has come. It’s just going around in circles,” she said.

Service providers purchase access to the NBN via 121 access points.

The NBN Co said commercial in-confidence restrictions meant it was unable to revealhow muchOptus and Telstra had spent buying extra broadband capacity in recent weeks.

An Optus spokeswoman said the company was working to increase capacity for its customers.

“There is strong demand for the NBN in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle regions,” she said.

“Optus is working to enhance network links to provide additional capacity for customers in affected suburbs and towns.”

Telstra has also increased its capacity.

“We have had incredible demand for NBN services in the area and we have been monitoring the performance of the network closely to ensure speeds meet our expectations,” the Telstra spokesman said.

“Last week we boosted network capacity to deal with increased demand.”

“If any customers are still experiencing lower than expected speeds, we ask them to contact us.”

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