NBN technology choice for Mylor a 'callous commercial decision'

23 Jul 2020

Posted January 22, 2020

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie is calling on NBN Co to urgently review its callous commercial decision to dump at least 450 properties on the outskirts of the Mylor township on its Sky Muster satellite service after initially promising the community wireless technology.

“This is a callous commercial decision that seeks to take the cheapest and easiest way to fix an issue for 495 affected premises that NBN Co has had two years to resolve in terms of not only finding but actually securing an appropriate site for their promised wireless tower,” Rebekha said.

“They’ve kept the community waiting for a long time and with the NBN 30 June 2020 roll-out deadline now looming, they’ve taken the cheapest option and have refused to consider my written request from late last year to find another site or extend the fixed line connection footprint around the town of Mylor.

“They have decided to try and extend the fixed wireless connections for those people living on the fringes of the towers located at Echunga North, Littlehampton, Scott Creek and Cherry Gardens but that is only likely to assist 30 properties, 50 at most.

“Given Mylor is located 20km from the Adelaide CBD, this decision means the number of premises mapped for Sky Muster connection within a 25km radius of the Adelaide GPO will increase from 462 premises (as at 12 November 2019) to possibly more than 900 properties.

“We know this thanks to a Freedom of Information document recently released by NBN Co. It makes South Australia not only the state with the highest percentage of satellite connections (5% compared with the national average of 3%) but the state with the highest number of Sky Muster connections within a 25km radius of an Australian capital city GPO.

“Hobart comes a distant second with 264 connections and Sydney has 28.

“Adelaide does have issues with topography in the foothills but these figures are outrageous.

“As of late last year approximately 7,000 premises across South Australia were connected to the Sky Muster satellite service and I have been advised that 5,630 premises have been assigned satellite technology in Mayo.

“My community equates satellite NBN with the technology for remote Australia, not the peri-urban fringe of a major capital city.

“I have written again to both NBN Co and the Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher to express my community’s disappointment and to request that NBN Co reviews its decision regarding the wider Mylor community."

This correspondence follow letters sent late last year following an NBN Information Session hosted by Rebekha in Mylor in November 2019.

This community meeting was attended by 55 locals who were deeply concerned about two years of delays with their fixed wireless roll-out.

Mylor itself is connected to an NBN fixed line service. The area around Mylor includes some 495 premises and NBN Co advertised that this footprint would receive an NBN wireless service.

At the November community meeting an NBN spokesman announced that negotiations between NBN Co and a private landowner to build a tower to deliver NBN wireless technology to residents outside the township of Mylor had fallen through and that they were reconsidering their options for providing NBN to local residents.

Earlier this month NBN Co issued a press release regarding its final technology decision for Mylor.

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