Lower Mountains left buffering as NBN rollout delayed again

Lower Blue Mountains residents and small businesses face a longer wait for the NBN, after the rollout date was delayed again.

There are still 14,000 premises in the Blue Mountains waiting to be connected, with the vast majority due to become ready by the end of the year, according to NBN Co.

Blaxland resident and freelance journalist, Tony Kleu, with Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman.

Blaxland resident and freelance journalist, Tony Kleu, with Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman.

A spokesperson for the company apologised for the inconvenience caused by the delays which they said were exacerbated by the "complexity" of the Blue Mountains terrain.

Federal Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, said many people who were expecting a connection by the end of the year will now have to wait until as late as the middle of next year.

"Small businesses in the Lower Mountains were expecting to be connected to the NBN back in the middle of 2018, and all they have had is a delay after delay after delay," the MP told the last sitting of Parliament.

Blaxland resident and freelance journalist, Tony Kleu, contacted Ms Templeman in mid-October when he realised the rollout date had now been pushed out to April-June 2020.

"Two months ago I was sent notification by Telstra that connection would occur soon - effectively from October 1," said Mr Kleu. Then he received a sudden notification that the date had been rescheduled.

"There is no explanation, no apology. Just silent and abysmal failure to meet promises," he said.

"My freelance work and income have suffered because I could not guarantee rapid turnaround of large image-rich projects. Net speeds here are so poor and unreliable."

Another small business owner who contacted Ms Templeman after also realising there was another delay was Anthony Gerber from GuruNow.

Mr Gerber was counting on high-speed internet to run his live-streaming internet business from home.

"I have been counting down to NBN being available by the end of this year," said Mr Gerber.

"I was outraged that it was being moved six months at such short notice, especially since this is not the first time the predicted date was changed at the last minute."

Ms Templeman said the big losers are local businesses and any resident who really depends on a decent service.

"The government's claim that it supports small business is a joke. This is not the way to support small business, which is having its growth and viability hampered at every turn," she said.

"It's time the government stopped playing the role of a bystander who is conveniently uninterested in the problems they have created, and instead demonstrates some leadership in addressing these challenges."

The office of Federal communications minister, Paul Fletcher, referred her comments to NBN Co as they related to an "operational matter".

The NBN Co spokesperson said: "More than 26,800 homes and businesses in the Blue Mountains can currently connect to the nbn access network. Construction works are underway to connect the remaining 14,000 premises, with the vast majority due to become Ready to Connect by the end of the year.

"It's expected 3200 premises in parts of Faulconbridge, Linden and Springwood will be able to connect from February, with the remaining 1800 in parts of Blaxland and Warrimoo expected to be able to connect from May next year," the spokesperson said.

"It's important to remember, the rollout of the nbn network is one of the most complex and ambitious initiatives to be undertaken in Australia. This is why it is not unusual for the majority of an area to become nbn ready, whilst works are being carried out to those remaining premises. This means access is not held back for those areas where construction is complete.

"The Blue Mountains region is particularly challenging in terms of the build conditions, largely due to the terrain and the spread of premises. We are trenching and boring through rock and managing accessibility in terms of the large amount of aerial build required in the area. Regrettably, this complexity has delayed the connection of some services and we apologise for the inconvenience this has caused."