ON Sunday, December 22, the NBN cable was off the hydro pole and on the top off a barbed wire fence in the blackberries on Tasman Highway 2 1/2 kilometres from St Helens towards Scottsdale.
I notified Aurora as I thought it might have been the three-phase power cable.
It was terrific in its response and actions but said it was the NBN cable and the NBN had been notified.
I spoke to a Visionstream person who also said that NBN had been notified on three occasions about this, but it took until 3.45pm on Friday, December 27, for the repair crew to come and lift the cable out of the blackberries and barbed wire fence.
The NBN cable is still only about four metres off the ground between the poles.
My concerns on so-called remote locations like St Helens with the NBN has now been confirmed with this fiasco – if live stock had been in the paddock, as we all know, they would have chewed it to pieces, and potentially put small businesses out of business.
When the copper is turned off nobody can trade without a live connection as we are all unfortunately committed to computers.
NBN obviously doesn’t give a high priority to repairs and maintenance so how can we operate with the cables strung between poles in a remote location and in a fire-prone area?
– Michael Tucker of St Helens Newsagency, Examiner 3rd Jan 2014
You can find the original opinion piece here
What Michael doesn’t say is that following the May 2014 permanent switch off of the copper network the telephones would also be inoperable should the fibre cable be cut. This is of great concern – particularly for businesses.
Given that the cut off date seems to completely immovable it is important that we:
- Keep lobbying the government and NBNCo to secure these cables – Michael Tucker noted in my meeting with him before Christmas that following the 1967 Bushfires it was mandated that telephone lines be carried underground due to their importance – the same should be true of the fibre.
- Businesses consider carefully the impact that loss of internet and phones would have on their business and consider putting in place some backup options (using the 3G mobile network).