Friday D-day for Kiama copper countdown

The NBN enabled Maree Shepherd to move from Sutherland to Kiama, allowing the option to work from home. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN
The NBN enabled Maree Shepherd to move from Sutherland to Kiama, allowing the option to work from home. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

This Friday the copper countdown in Kiama hits zero.

From then, the copper network that supplies phone and internet services will be cut off. Those services will then only be available  – including in the CBD – through fibre.

It’s the final stage of the National Broadband Network rollout – 18 months after the NBN is switched on in an area the copper network is switched off.

Kiama is one of 15 areas across the country where the copper network is scheduled to be switched off.

So home and business owners have until Friday to transfer their phone and internet services  to the NBN – or risk waking up on Saturday without them.

‘‘The move to the NBN is not automatic,’’ NBN spokesman Darren Rudd said.

‘‘Homes and business owners who want to keep using these services must place an order with their preferred phone company or internet service provider as soon as possible.

‘‘As long as an order has been received before the scheduled disconnection date, they should not be disconnected.’’

Mr Rudd urged those with special equipment such as eftpos terminals or medical and security alarms that operate via a landline connection to check with their service provider about moving them over to the NBN.

Owners of businesses  that have  an emergency lift phone or fire indicator panel need to register their details with NBN Co on 1800687626 so these services can be identified.

People who do not make the switch before Friday will have a limited phone service for 20 business days from the day their copper was disconnected, and can make emergency calls or call Telstra. 

However, internet services will no longer work on the copper network after the cut-off date. 

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NBN brings the world into home

For Kiama Downs resident Maree Shepherd, having access to the National Broadband Network makes distances just disappear.

"When I studied Australian history, we studied the tyranny of distance, about the problems for Australia being so far away," Ms Shepherd said.

"The internet and the NBN in particular for me down here in Kiama, that tyranny of distance is gone now. The world is right here in my living room because I've got a good connection."

Ms Shepherd works for Shepherd & Shepherd, a training company that works with high-level management to enhance skills.

She works with her former husband Tony Shepherd - he does the international travel while she would work in the office setting up meetings all over the world, organising the work books, arranging travel and other things that make a landline and internet connection vital. She was working in Sutherland but opted to move to Kiama when she heard the NBN was coming.

"We had a holiday home down here," Ms Shepherd said. "Tony was thinking of selling the home. Circumstances in Sydney had changed a bit for me so I thought, I could buy it off him and, with the NBN, I can still provide the same services that I do in Sydney.

"One of the selling points for me was that there would be a good internet connection."

For Ms Shepherd, the internet is a lifeline.

"The internet is like electricity to me now," she said.

"If you couldn't turn on a light, people would be aghast. If I can't get on the internet, I'm aghast because it's my way of communicating.

"It's enabled me to continue working and earning a living with an ex-husband that I don't have to see day to day.

"I get along very well with Tony, but it's easy for me to work with him in this position because we're not working in the same office."

As well as the ability to work from home, the NBN has also allowed Ms Shepherd to enjoy a sense of community living in Kiama.

She lives near the beach and can take her dog for a walk with others. She's also part of a local choir.

And she need not worry about traffic lights again.

"When I lived in the Sutherland Shire, just to get to work, which was only about five kilometres away, I went through 20 sets of traffic lights," she said.

"I never see a traffic light down here."


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