By Taylah Hanna and Elyse Simich
Despite the National Broadband Network (NBN) already connecting 50 per cent of WA’s homes and businesses, many of Perth’s suburbs will be forced to wait until 2020.
With approximately 640,000 premises ready to connect in WA, NBN Senior Manager of Community Affairs in WA Rachael McIntyre said this nationwide expansion is set to be completed in the coming years.
“The nationwide roll out is about 50 per cent complete,” she said.
“By next July 2018 we’ll be 75 per cent complete, and we’ll be finished the nationwide roll out in its entirety by 2020.”
The WA State Government said this delayed rollout is negatively affecting our economy and have launched a Federal inquiry into the matter.
Acting innovation and ICT Minister Simone McGurk said a lack of publicly available information about the rollout is making it difficult for individuals, businesses and Government agencies to plan for access to the service.
“If Australia is to compete on the world stage, we need access to fast, reliable and affordable internet,” she said.
“It’s fundamental to the diverse, modern and innovation-driven economy the McGowan Government is committed to building for WA.”
An increase in demand for reliable internet and broadband services is too much for the current network.
“Our existing infrastructure isn’t where it needs to be, that’s why we’re rolling out the NBN and it is a process given the size of Australia, it’s very challenging to roll out all areas at the one time, so we are getting to them as quickly as possible,” Ms McIntyre said.
“But we do 100 per cent accept that for those who are towards the end of the roll out, it is really frustrating and their demand and their desire is no less than those who have already received the NBN. ”
Ms McGurk said WA’s internet access is slower than that of some developing nations.
“The remote areas in our State are being particularly affected by the slow rollout of the NBN and the inferior but more expensive satellite technology being deployed,” she said.
“High performing, affordable internet in these areas will drive economic development and help address social and economic disadvantage.”
Morley MLA Amber-Jade Sanderson said the poor internet access in her electorate is affecting high school students’ education.
“In my electorate of Morley, internet access is so abysmal that a number of high school students have to travel by bus to friends’ houses as they are unable to complete homework or do research in their own homes,” she said.
“Unreliable service delivery and slower internet speeds means households do not have the access to technology they were promised under the NBN rollout.
“Due to the outdated infrastructure in our area, businesses are packing up and moving to other suburbs, which is bad for local jobs and bad for our communities.”
Ms McIntyre said connecting Australia to NBN is just the beginning of increasing our internet service.
“By 2020 when we have 100 per cent completion, that’s just the beginning, we will continuously build on that to upgrade that network so it keeps up with demand.”
Parts of Northbridge, East Perth, Baldivis, Henley Brook, Ellenbrook, Maddington, Kenwick and Thronlie will not be able to connect to NBN until 2020.
For further information on when NBN is coming to your suburb, visit www.nbnco.com.au