Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan has a new weapon to use in the battle to achieve better telecommunications for Indi.
Ms McGowan’s appointment to a Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network (NBN) is the latest step she has taken to address constituent’s frustrations, after heavily advocating for mobile blackspot funding.
“The NBN rollout has been a massive issue in Indi, with about 100 constituent inquiries coming through my Wodonga and Wangaratta offices in the past month,” Ms McGowan said.
“As an independent I take issues directly to Canberra. I’m now also looking forward to being part of this committee as another way to deliver for Indi.”
Ms McGowan said in Indi NBN problems being reported to her are concentrated in areas that are due to be serviced by NBN satellite. These are predominantly in the shires of Alpine, Murrindindi, Mansfield and Towong.
“I have written to Minister for Communication Senator Mitch Fifield about the satellite rollout in Indi,” she said. “Many people have reported delays. I also have concerns that satellite plans and prices are inequitable for rural and regional people.”
Ms McGowan continues to put pressure on the Government to answer the questions raised by the public during the 2015 Regional Telecommunications Review.
“NBN customers need protections around installation, maintenance and accountability when things go wrong,” she said.
She has also called on NBN Co to expand the fixed wireless network in rural and regional Australia and to take advantage of the opportunities to co-locate with mobile phone towers.
“Expanding the fixed wireless network would also alleviate the pressure on the satellite system and may allow NBN to build capacity and lift speeds and data restrictions for those areas where satellite is their only source of communications,” she said.
Ms McGowan said that when experiencing problems with the NBN, the first step is report it to the service provider. If the response is unsatisfactory it’s important to make an official complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).
The TIO can be reached by phoning 1800 062 058 or writing to PO Box 276, Collins Street West, Victoria, 8007.