Western Australia gives up trying to talk to NBN

If you thought NBN was opaque, confused, and not very helpful at all, then you are not alone, as the Western Australian government agrees with this assessment.

Writing in a submission [PDF] to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network, the WA government said its Office of the Government Chief Information Officer had attempted to work with NBN on a number of occasions, but received responses it described as opaque.

“As a result of less than ideal engagement with Western Australia, the NBN rollout has progressed in a patchwork and inconsistent manner, often with poor performance, and low levels of sign-up for NBN services as a result,” it said.

The government said its agencies reported difficulty in getting any information out of NBN coupled with “lengthy delays”, poor support, and confusion on when sites would be ready.

The WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services told the state government it had seen a doubling of the cost of monitored alarms service due to NBN installs, and communication problems between NBN and retailers.

“These kinds of frustrations have a direct impact on service delivery, which for the cited examples frequently involves life and death situations,” the submission said. “Receiving and responding to triggered alarms and ensuring communications between front line health services are not optional extras, they are critical components of agencies’ operations.”

“If Western Australian agencies are unable to guarantee reliable connections for their services through the NBN, the lives of Western Australians are potentially at risk.”

The relationship between NBN and the WA agencies had reached a point where talking to NBN was being avoided, the government said.

“NBN Co’s low level of engagement in the preparation for rollout, unavailability — both directly, and via RSPs — and poor coordination with state-level service delivery is costing WA agencies time and money,”…

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