FERN TREE NBN MEETING
Any upper South Hobart residents whose phones are currently connected to the Fern Tree exchange and are interested in obtaining the NBN to their home should attend the following meeting!
Fern Tree Community Association Annual General Meeting
Wednesday 24th April 2013 -7.30pm
Fern Tree Community Centre
Guest speaker: Sam Marshall ‘Construction Stakeholder Officer’ NBN Co.
Sam Marshall will talk about the NBN rollout in our area. All residents are encouraged to attend and to ask questions.
As well, please consider joining the Committee; all positions are declared vacant, and there is always a need for new blood. http://ferntree.tas.au/
Thanks to Tone and Talking Turnips
NBN COMMUNITY INFORMATION SESSION: If you haven’t yet seen the Mercury notice or heard about this – NBN Co is holding an information session at the South Hobart Primary School gymnasium. Saturday 29th of October – any time between 10am till 1pm. “To find out what exciting benefits fibre optic broadband will bring to you and your community” I would urge everybody to get along and ask why upper South Hobart isn’t included in this stage of the rollout - b.t.w. comments are now enabled at the bottom of this page.
UPDATE:Well we have actually been busy behind the scenes. But essentially it’s been a waiting game, so here’s a run down of what has happended since closing the Survey?
- Ahmet produced a very slick Survey Report (download a copy-5mb), that Steve then used as part of his presentation to MP Andrew Wilkie.
- Wilkie was keen to help and he spoke directly to PM Julia Gillard regarding our plight and concerns.
- A letter was sent to NBN Co CEO Michael Quigley
- And I believe a letter was also sent to Senator Stephen Conroy too (is that correct Steve, and have we had any reply at all?) (edit: yes this is correct, but we haven’t received any reply at all)
As of this week, we’ve prompted Wilkies office, but we still haven’t had word back from the PM. She did make an announcement recently, but it was pretty much the usual polly grandstanding and nothing of any substance for us.
We did (finally) receive a reply from Quiggley via his PR person and she has offered to meet with our group to answer questions ..are you interested? I’ll publish our original letter and her response soon.
Deputy Mayor Helen Burnett has also contacted us this week to see if there are any questions that we would like Senator Scott Ludlum to ask, at the Senate Estimates this week, in relation to the NBN (if he has time and we’re not too late getting something to him). I’ve sent a reply to her and suggestions along with copies of correspondence and a copy of our Survey report. A few bits and pieces have come to light over the past couple of months (thanks to Andrew at Digital Tasmania) and I’ve presented our questions within this context. The following excerpt is pretty much the guts of my correspondence to her:
“Hi Helen, thanks for your interest in this. I would like to invite you to have a good look through our Survey Report and respondents comments (online). This should give you a sense of the high interest in our area for connections to a true high speed and reliable broadband service, upper South Hobart is a powerhouse of cottage and e-industry, telecommuting and education. If our survey is anything to go on, NBN Co could likely achieve a much higher uptake than they have experienced to date
Just a little historical context too. In 2009, then Premier Bartlett made this address to the
National Press Club (excerpt, download full document):
“Today I am pleased to announce, together with the Prime Minister, Stage 2 of the rollout in Tasmania which will see optic fibre extended to seven more centres. Our approach to this is that we are building this NBN in Tasmania from the outside in. We are starting in regional and outer suburban communities – to provide support for those communities which currently have the least telecommunications infrastructure. Places like St Helens and Triabunna – two towns on our east coast increasingly drawing tourists and sea-changers alike to relax on pristine beaches. There are regional centres like Deloraine, Sorell and George Town – towns that provide a hub for wider farming and innovative agribusiness communities. Kingston Beach is a growing outer suburban area south of Hobart, and the final site is South Hobart-a suburb which is only three minutes from the centre of Hobart but is unable to access a quality broadband service”.
I believe Bartlett had the upper part of South Hobart firmly in mind here. He met with a group of us residents many years ago in order to help us lobby Telstra to extend the ADSL reach into our streets and he was well aware of the difficulties we faced.
The part of South Hobart that will receive the stage 2 NBN roll out is already able to get quite good ADSL broadband access and speeds, yet it is being done ahead of our area that has patchy to non existent adsl services all within 15 mins drive to the centre of Hobart.
We surveyed 520 residences in Upper South Hobart, of the 103 responses, there was an
overwhelming feeling that the NBN Co had been deceptive in their advertising and ultimately unfair in their decision not to include all of South Hobart.
In addition there seems to be some discrepancy between the stated coverage and actual
premises. The NBN Co announcement states that they are doing 2000 connections in South Hobart. Australia Post only lists 1721 mail addresses in the whole of South Hobart including PO boxes. If we then take off the 520 residences in upper South Hobart, that we deem are outside of the Stage 2 area, that actually only leaves approximately 1200 connections not 2000. Now there’s likely multiple connections allowed at St Johns Hospital and clinics, the local schools, Vaucluse Retirement Village and shops, but surely not 800?
If Scott Ludlum could ask any questions like the following, using South Hobart as an example, it could be revealing:
- Ex Premier Bartlett’s announcement of the Stage 2 NBN Co roll out specifically states that South Hobart will be done, yet the part of South Hobart that has the poorest broadband services has been left out, why?
- How did they calculate 2000 connections for South Hobart when there are only 1721 mail addresses in South Hobart including PO boxes, and 520 of these are to be excluded in Stage 2?
- Just how do they define a connection?
- What proportion of the 2000 connections for South Hobart Stage 2 roll out, is actually only head room for future use?
- The technology being used by NBN Co is mature and proven isn’t it, why are they deeming so many areas as ‘trials’?
NBN Co seems to be making announcements in a way that fudges the actual coverage in a given town or suburb. By doing so they ultimately let down and alienate the residents in these areas. We’ve heard all sorts of excuses about fibre blocks and capacity and trials. But are we really just witnessing the cherry picking of areas in order to score political points, and is this ultimately at the taxpayers expense?”
SURVEY RESULTS - Thanks to the 104 people / residences who participated over the last two weeks. 103 of the respondents were from our target area of upper South Hobart (approx 520 residences). The graphs on the ‘Broadband Survey’ page are based on these 103 responses.
The Problem: Starting this year, the NBN will be extended – but only to lower South Hobart. see map
The Solution: Acting together, we have a great chance of convincing authorities to make fast NBN connections available to all of South Hobart.
How: We need your help. First, read the background below and then fill out this survey. We can use the result of the survey to decide how best to act next.
Who are we: We are a group of residents in the excluded part of South Hobart who want to get decent, NBN speed internet connection. We aim to do this by surveying our community internet connection needs and use this data to lobby the NBN Co to extend the NBN stage 2 roll-out to all of South Hobart.
The National Broadband Network (NBN Co) recently announced that they will be connecting fibre-optic cable to residences and businesses in South Hobart as part of their Stage 2 roll out, commencing sometime this year (2011). However this is not the case for residents living above the Brewery.
This web site and survey is specifically aimed at people who own or rent a residence or property, or operate a business from a premises or property in the upper part of South Hobart (the Cascades precinct) who will miss out on the stage 2 NBN roll out.
This is the area (roughly) west of a north-south line drawn between the Cascade Brewery, Hillborough Road, McRobies Gully (all included in the stage 2 rollout). Essentially this takes in all the upper part of South Hobart including Strickland Avenue above Cascade Brewery, upper Huon Road above Hillborough Road, Turnip Fields Road, Old Farm Road, Marlyn Road, Jubilee Road, Avon Road , Lawley Crescent, Saunders Crescent etc. For the sake of this exercise, we’re defining this area as upper South Hobart.
NBN Co’s announcement states that South Hobart is included in Stage 2, so you would be forgiven in presuming that this would mean all of our suburb. When one looks at the detail however, it actually defines South Hobart as a block of 2000 premises. So it is in fact only a portion of South Hobart that will be included in the stage 2 roll out of fibre optic broadband, a.k.a. Fibre to the Home (F.T.T.H.). Even though the inclusion area is the larger proportion of premises within South Hobart, geographically speaking the inclusion area is actually less than half of South Hobart and there are several hundred premises that therefore miss out in this round.
An NBN Co representive that I spoke with told me the following:
- Our area (Upper South Hobart) is within the overall ‘fibre footprint’ (as apposed to some areas that will receive either wireless or satellite connections instead of fibre)
- We will receive fibre “sooner rather than later”
- Each of the designated areas receiving fibre optic connections are know as “fibre blocks”. Each “fibre block” has capacity for 2,800-3000 connections (current South Hobart stage 2 is connecting 2000 premises)
- He will investigate why Upper South Hobart is not part of the stage 2 South Hobart roll out and said he will get back with an answer. (update.. I’ve spoken to him again and was told that we missed out on being a part of South Hobart stage 2 roll out due to design reasons. i.e. it makes more sense for upper South Hobart / Cascades to be a part of a different “fibre block”)
If fortune has favored you and you’re within the Stage 2 area of South Hobart, then NBN Co will provide a fibre optic connection directly to your premises. Our understanding is that this will manifest as an network port on a wall inside your house (you plug your modem into this). You then have the option, if you so wish, of connecting to a reliable high speed fibre optic internet connection providing anything up to 100 times the speeds currently possible in our area using the various flavors of ADSL connections. The actual increase in speed will be determined by a number of factors, which include your current real life connection speed and which plan you eventually choose from your ISP (internet service provider), i.e if you’re currently only getting a paltry 1Mbps connection speed (like two of my neighbours) and you choose a 100 Mbps plan, you could get up to a 100 fold increase in speed.
Our presumption is that many ADSL to ADSL2+ broadband connections in our area struggle to realise speeds of between 1-2 mbps, a long way short of the theoretical 24Mbps ADSL2+ speeds (or 12Mbps for plain ADSL). Because these ADSL connections are on the whole delivered to us via the copper telephone wires, they are subject to various forms of degradation. Distance and the quality of the copper wires/connections from the exchange to your premises are the main determining factors, though the quality of the phone wiring within your house can have an effect as well. Due to our great distance from the Davey Exchange, many of the current adsl broadband connections in the upper South Hobart region are slow and of poor quality!
The costs for connection to the fibre optic network are likely to be similar to current ADSL plans provided by Internet Service Providers. Connection of the optic fibre to the home is managed by the NBN Co and this is a nation building project initiated by the Federal Government. We are not charged in any way when NBN Co connects fibre to our premises. In most, if not all cases, you won’t have to change your ISP if you have a current internet plan, but just roll over to a fibre optic plan with them. You do have to use a fibre optic compatible modem so there may be an extra cost for this, however if you have a recent high end ADSL modem it may be compatible, so this should be checked.
We here at ‘allsoho’ think the NBN is a grand development and we will connect as soon as we can. The issue for us however, is that the stage 2 roll out does not include Upper South Hobart premises (where we live and work) and we think it should. At this point in time however, we have no definite time frame for when our area will receive optic fibre. Indications from NBN Co suggest that it may be sooner rather than later, but we have no guarantee and without any firm guarantee, that means it could be up to 10 years away.
The Survey is designed to best gauge interest and give us some solid data to lobby with. If this is of interest to you and you’re in the excluded area of upper South Hobart then please take a couple of minutes to complete the survey. The more respondents we get the more effective our data will be.