Local approach to the NBN

Amber Dornbusch, head of the nbn Local teams in NSW, one of which starts in Wollongong on Tuesday.
Amber Dornbusch, head of the nbn Local teams in NSW, one of which starts in Wollongong on Tuesday.

NBNCo is launching a team with a Wollongong focus, which comes after a series of complaints about internet and phone access.

Earlier this year, the Illawarra Business Chamber launched its “Not Happy Jan” campaign.

The campaign’s aim was to find remedies for local businesses who were having problems with their telecommunications services.

In a chamber survey of more than 150 businesses, 60 per cent indicated the process of connecting to the NBN was “somewhat to very disruptive”.

The survey also found there was some confusion over who was ultimately responsible for fixing faults when they occurred.

It is unclear whether the campaign and complaints in the region related to NBNCo’s introduction of an “nbn Local” team in Wollongong, as of Tuesday.

Head of the nbn Local teams in NSW, Amber Dornbusch said the aim was to provide better co-ordination of the network engineers and other staff already “on the ground” in the region as well as improving fault detection and the installation of the NBN.

“We understand that it can be confusing at times for people to know how to make the switch to the NBN network,” Ms Dornbusch said.

Part of the team would be “dedicated to going out into local communities and making sure that people are informed and answer any questions around what it is that they need to do to make the most out of their NBN connection”.

“Along with that, we have our network engineers on the ground as well, who we work really closely with. So if there are issues being raised we can work with our guys so they can be jumped on really quickly.”

Ms Dornbusch said NBNCo had, in recent months, made changes to ensure there was a specific focus on the business part of the network, “given that their needs and priorities are different to your residential-grade products”. 

Despite the fact Wollongong has an nbn Local team, residents will not be able to contact it directly.

“It still is really important people talk to their retail service provider if they have any issues with their connection,” Ms Dornbusch said.

“I appreciate that can feel like we’re pushing back on people.

“But what it’s all about is the retail service provider is the contact where they have their plan.

“They’re the ones that will do the investigation for them on their behalf.”

This was because the fault could be in the retail provider’s segment of the network, or NBNCo’s.

Ms Dornbusch said it could even be the case that the fault laid with the wiring inside the person’s home.