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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Byron gets better broadband but not Skennars Head

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The boost will give access to services that were previously unavailable, says Telstra Country Wide area general manager for north coast NSW, Sue Passmore. That includes digital TV through Telstra’s T-Box and Telstra’s new Digital Office Technology (DOT).

‘The existing infrastructure in the local exchange was struggling to meet the demand in Ocean Shores, Suffolk Park and Byron Bay for fast internet at certain times. We’re very excited that this upgrade will allow many of our customers to have a more consistent speed experience when using their ADSL service, either at home or at work,’ Ms Passmore said.

‘There may be some individual reasons customers still do not get the internet speeds they expect from their service. These include a customer’s distance from the exchange, their own equipment and whether or not they are served by the specific parts of the exchange that have received an upgrade.’

Skennars ignored

Meanwhile, there is still no broadband coverage in Skennars Head nor any promises from Telstra to deliver to all of these 300 homes, says resident John Bortolin. ‘Telstra contact us at least once a year promising we can now get ADSL,’ said John. ‘Every time we tell them that we can’t.

‘I went through the entire process of signing up with them for ADSL only to be let down because nothing had changed. That ridiculous process included a plan change, hardware sent in the post to be set up, the connection failing as the service has never been available, packing up all the hardware and sending the equipment back again. And then having to go through the process of fixing the phone plans back to the way they were before!’

Local businessman Gavin Payne says it’s poor form that the copper providers can’t get it right in an area with sufficient houses close enough together to warrant an exchange upgrade.

Gavin Payne, managing director of NewSprout, a national business based in Lennox Head said, ‘Data, when using the 3G mobile broadband network, is still a great revenue earner when people use lots of it. It’s no wonder the big providers don’t want to erode that revenue only to replace it with a much cheaper ADSL Broadband option.’

NewSprout wants to be able to offer their ADSL services to Skennars Head, and unfortunately this is a battle they have already fought and lost many times with the copper providers. ‘It is near impossible to get any exchange upgrade information from them,’ said Payne. ‘NewSprout is support driven – we are trying to bring sanity into the internet service world. We service customers nationally and yet in our own backyard we can’t help our neighbours – it’s embarrassing’.

NewSprout is lobbying the copper provider (Telstra in this case) to do their part in upgrading the necessary infrastructure that only they have control over, so that NewSprout can offer its ADSL Broadband to Skennars and improved services to Lennox.

If you’re a Skennars Head resident, NewSprout asks that you register your interest by emailing [email protected].

Customers concerned about their service can contact Telstra BigPond on 13POND or visit the Telstra Store at Ballina Fair shopping centre.


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