On 15 February, I sent an email to the Minister for Regional Communications, Regional Development and Rural Health, Senator Fiona Nash. These portfolio responsibilities could almost translate to NBN – National Broadband Network – in terms of who would benefit most from an operational an infrastructure. The content of my email related to a person who posted their disgust with how the NBN is failing them in Tasmania, a place that was touted to be the first state to have the best NBN services. But hey, our current government has really stuffed things up because the Prime Minister himself thinks he knows better than network engineers and technology specialists. So the system is now a joke.
Here is a smattering of my original email and the included content from the complainant (I don’t have permission to post the whole message, so I’ll just include a snippet and a link so you can go read the whole thing yourself if you’re on Facebook).
Dear Minister Nash
Here is something you can possibly attend to or push someone in your new area of responsibility to attend to. This sounds like a right stuff-up.
You’re stuck with a dud system. Perhaps you can influence some improvements.
From the facebook person, in a message that was sent to me:
> Today is day 21 with a failed NBN connection for us. We live in Port
> Huon, Tasmania, in the beautiful rural Huon Valley.
> We have had one occasion where an NBN technician has turned up, the
> day before a scheduled appointment because the technician was in the
> street doing another job. We were not at home.
> Since then there have now been four scheduled appointments to which no
> NBN technician has shown up. Excuses, via the ISP from NBN have
> included – ‘We didn’t have all the correct information” which is
> incorrect. “They weren’t home, so we left a card in the post box”
> which has never happened. “We went to the wrong address” which is
> unverifiable, oh and my favorite “We don’t often go down there.” Which
> is clearly correct. I await with interest the excuse for the no show
> on Friday, appointment 4, perhaps ” The dog ate my Purchase
> Order/IPhone/Car Keys?”
Then it just gets worse. The person asks for help and direction how they can actually get what they have been promised.
Today, I received a reply from the Minister. Well, not from her, exactly, but from one of the minions in the Department of Communications and the Arts, which is the department responsible for this fiasco of a project. It’s a doozy. They seem to think I am the person with the problem. Who knows if they bothered to go to the Facebook user and reach out to them. Well, you can read it yourself. The letter is available here (hope this file access works for you):
[UPDATE: from a reader]
“When an Assistant Director replies for a Senator, it’s a brush-off.” He doesn’t even make the directory listing for the department. Not even the title makes the list.
If you are an NBN victim, maybe the address provided for assistance can help you, family, friends. Unfortunately, the PDF I received has the link embedded and it can’t be copied directly from it easily, nor clicked on to activate. On top of that, there is no ability to reply to the email I received because it is an noreply “service”. Anyone know how to get in touch with I’m sure the lovely person named Jason Sleeman? I guess I could write him a PAPER letter and post it to Canberra. This is from a COMMUNICATIONS department!
Back to the NBN, I’m one of the “lucky” ones with NBN nowhere in sight for my area, and I’m 35 minutes from the city of Melbourne. I don’t think I’ll need that policy address soon. I despair for the person with the actual installation problems.
We do live in crazy times. I’m not so sure they’re interesting any more. Just infuriating.