NBN rollout holding businesses back

Hannah Tedder wants the government to speed up the NBN rollout. Picture: Shawn Smits

Sunbury businesses frustrated by the delayed rollout of the National Broadband Network have complained that slow and unreliable internet is holding them back.

The town was largely ignored by NBN Co’s latest rollout map, released last December, despite the federal government’s pre-election promise that all premises would have access before the end of 2016.

Services are already available in parts of some new estates.

Hannah Tedder, of Sunbury web design business H Create, said the ADSL+ connection available in her area was patchy at best.

‘‘Some days it’s just horrible,’’ Ms Tedder said. ‘‘Especially when uploading files for a client … sometimes I literally have to walk away, go do something else and then come back.’’

Ms Tedder said the complete rollout of the NBN would lead to major productivity gains.

‘‘It would open up a lot of channels, things that just aren’t an option at the moment,’’ she said.

‘‘A lot of businesses are using things like Skype to talk to clients, but I have to avoid it because the connection is so unreliable.’’

GTI Computer Innovations technician Mitchell Hayden said the need for high-speed internet in heavily populated areas such as Sunbury was much greater than in outlying towns such as Heathcote. ‘‘I have no doubt it’s restricting many businesses. ADSL just can’t cope.’’

McEwen MP Rob Mitchell said it was a disgrace that Sunbury and Gisborne, among other centres, had not been mentioned in the latest NBN rollout plan. He said he had been advised Sunbury would receive the NBN within 18 months, only to be told two weeks later that the area was not in the existing national plan.

A Communications Department spokesman said Sunbury was included in the most recent rollout plan, with work to start before July next year. But NBN Co’s rollout map still shows only parts of new estates will be included.