MP ramps up fight to overturn Mylor NBN decision

MP ramps up fight to overturn Mylor NBN decision

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is ramping up her fight to overturn NBN Co’s decision to give at least 450 premises on the outskirts of the Mylor township Sky Muster satellite instead of fixed wireless as promised.

The Centre Alliance MP raised the issue in Question Time yesterday and has had discussions with the Communications Minister Paul Fletcher to urge him to intervene and have NBN Co review its decision.

Rebekha is also meeting with NBN Co officials in Canberra next week to put forward the case for NBN Co to either allocate more time and resources towards finding a suitable fixed wireless tower site or to spend the extra money and extend the fixed-line beyond the Mylor town boundaries.

“It is unacceptable that a technology designed for remote Australia is being dumped on a locality that is only 20km as the crow flies from the CBD of Adelaide,” Rebekha said.

“I accept that negotiations for a suitable tower site have fallen through but I and the community of Mylor do not accept that NBN Co has made sufficient effort to find another site.

“Frankly NBN Co is taking the easier and cheaper option of satellite with a few properties connecting to outlying fixed wireless sites.

“They need to find another site or spend the money and extend the fixed-line fibre NBN which is a superior broadband service.

“And it’s not just the outskirts of Mylor that are being shunted onto satellite as NBN Co approaches its June 2020 deadline.

“If most, if not all of the 495 premises around Mylor go on satellite, there will be nearly 2,900 premises assigned satellite in the Hills within 25km of Adelaide’s GPO.

“Hobart has 1,041 premises assigned satellite within 25km of their GPO. Sydney has just 139.

“NBN Co blames topography for this outrageously high number but this doesn’t explain why Greenhill has fibre to the node but nearby Teringie and parts of Mount Lofty and Crafers West have satellite.

“It also doesn’t explain why areas such as Mylor that were mapped for wireless are suddenly too hard to pursue in terms of finding suitable sites.

“The Minister says it’s up to NBN Co to make the business decisions but I do not accept that the Government cannot step in to ask for a review.

“The NBN is supposed to be a ‘nation-building’ broadband initiative. Taxpayers are not getting value for money if we end up with such huge disparity between the city and the regions when it comes to digital connectivity.”

In addition to lobbying NBN Co and the Government, Rebekha is also supporting a parliamentary e-petition submitted by Mylor resident Susanne Koen calling on NBN Co to find a better solution for her locality.

“I understand the petition is being checked for eligibility by the Parliamentary petitions committee next Wednesday and, if approved, it will go online by the end of the week. The petitions list is available at www.aph.gov.au/petition_list,” Rebekha said.

“The petition stays online for four weeks and after that, it will be my privilege to represent the views of our community and present it formally to the Parliament.

“I encourage everyone to get involved because public pressure is what we need to get NBN Co to change this callous commercial decision.”

Susanne Koen also approached the Adelaide Hills Council this week, securing their support to write to Minister Fletcher and NBN Co to ask for a better deal for Mylor.

"It’s really fantastic to have the support of Rebekha Sharkie and the Adelaide Hills Council in getting this decision overturned. The council voted unanimously to support us," Susanne said.

"NBN Co is arguing that they are impeded by the topography and the presence of rock, but neither of those has changed over the last couple of years, so it begs the question as to what has changed? And how does this affect fixed wireless, which we were promised many years ago?

"Is this a case of filling in the gaps where there is currently no NBN service at a time when the NBN completion is nearing and the easiest solution is for NBN to stick everyone on satellite?

"In other words, this is a crude economic fix rather than providing the best outcome for residents.

"Is Mylor yet another case of NBN Co using Sky Muster satellite service as a 'dumping ground' for premises on metropolitan fringes that are otherwise too hard or expensive to serve?

"In fact, putting peri-urban areas onto satellite also disadvantages those in the bush, as the more crowded the network, the greater the congestion, and the slower the speed."