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September 28, 2021

NBN roll-out leaves business with no phone for over six weeks

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NBN nightmare: Elsa Torresi works on reception at Little Lane Dental, and can’t believe they’ve been without a phone for six weeks with no end in sight. Photo Aslan Shand.

A dental practice in Mullumbimby has now been without a phone for over six weeks following the roll out of the NBN which has failed to facilitate their connection to the NBN network. 

It has been six weeks of confusion, conflicting information and technical gobbledygook for dentist Steve McGaughran at Little Lane Dental in Mullumbimby as he’s been shunted from pillar to post between NBN and his telephone provider provider iinet – and he still doesn’t have a phone for his business.

I just want a quick resolution. I need a phone to run my business and it’s been six weeks now without one,’ said Steve in frustration.

On October 15 Little Lane Dental’s phone cut off while NBN were working on the node several meters from their building. When Steve asked the workers ‘what have you done to our phone?’ they said they hadn’t touched it, however, when Telstra came to fix the line four days later they told Steve that the NBN staff had damaged the line into the building. 

Two day phone

They had a phone line for almost two working days before it once again went dead at 9.45am on Tuesday October 23. They were told by their provider iinet that their number had been ported (transferred)  so they could be connected to the NBN network. 

‘The thing was that our appointment to be connected to the NBN network wasn’t until November 1,’ said Steve.

‘We asked if they could at least put a message on the line to let customers know that our number was being ported but they said they couldn’t because the number no longer existed.

‘I thought well, we can manage a week and a half without a phone for the greater good.’

But when he received his modem in the post on October 29 Steve realised there was a problem, it was addressed to 64 Stuart Street, and they are at 2/64 McGoughans Lane.

‘I called iinet and asked if they could check the service address,’ said Steve.

‘We’ve been here 35 years at the same address and we were told that McGoughans Lane was not on the NBN. We then spent four days trying to get back on the copper network but were told by iinet that it was “impossible”.’

Ombudsman powerless

It was at this point Steve brought in the ombudsman, after which a member of iinet’s senior management looked into the issue. ‘They assured us that yes, you have NBN to your address,’ Steve recounts.

However, according to Steve, ‘the NBN technician sent out on November 6 said that because our address wasn’t listed as an address on this node (that is a few meters from our door) we can’t have a connection as all the access points are allocated and it is full. This was the case, apparently, even though there are addresses allocated on the node that aren’t being used, because those businesses aren’t connecting to NBN. 

‘The workers then told us that NBN now have to put in another new cable if we are to be able to connect to NBN and that is a really big job.’

Since then they have been left dangling with no access to either the copper network or NBN. Adding to his frustration, Steve has been called on to act as the middle man as NBN and iinet use Steve as a means of sending each other messages.

‘NBN called and said our provider needs to switch us back onto the copper network but then iinet have said that for technical reasons they can’t “just switch us back on”.

‘What surprised me was that the ombudsman has not got the power to order anyone to do anything.

Just wanting a phone

‘All I want to know is when I’m going to get my phone connected? NBN and iinet are trying to talk to each other through me – they need to talk to each other. I don’t understand all the technical issues and can’t properly relay the information. 

‘I don’t need to know the details and technical issues – I just want to be reconnected.’

Supportive community

While Steve has said the stress of trying to sort it out has been the biggest issue he said the community have been amazing.

‘We have used The Echo and social media to try and let people know that we are still here and the community have been really wonderful and supportive.’

NBN not responding

In an attempt to get the business a phone line again iinet have now cancelled Little Lane Dental’s application for a connection to NBN and have applied to Telstra to reconnect the business to the copper network.

‘Iinet told me that NBN has stopped responding to their emails on this issue,’ said Steve.

‘They said if Telstra can’t switch us back onto the copper network then Telstra will have to lay another line to get us reconnected. But there is no time frame for this to take place.

‘I was told that because NBN have a monopoly on the roll-out it is either their way or the highway,’ said Steve.

NBN respond to Echonetdaily

NBN responded to questions from Echonetdaily stating that the property was was not going to be serviced by fibre to node technology but was going to be serviced by the fibre to curb network.

The intended serviceability date for all properties at 64 McGoughans Lane is 27 January 2019,’ said a spokesperson for NBN, noting that ‘The dates provided on the rollout map are indicative only’.

Update: December 6, 2.40pm

Justine Elliot’s office has contacted Little Lane Dental to let them know that she is requesting ministerial intervention today on their behalf.

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  1. What a bunch of jerks (NBN). No wonder so many people are holding off until the last possible date, to switch to NBN.

    The NBN need someone above them, to order them to fix problems like this. And they should be forced to pay Little Lane Dental compensation.

    • This doesn’t surprise me at all. We were without internet for 2 months. It cost us over $300 to rip out all the internal cabling in our house to prove that the problem was in the street. We were not reimburse d for it either nor will Telstra or the ISP restore the cabling. We don’t have a working alarm system and I calculate we are owed over $1500 for expenses and for services which we paid for and could not utilise due to lack of internet. We still haven’t got NBN. It has been has been 9 months since we had our telecommunications working properly.

  2. On Wommin Bay Rd Chinderah one side of the road has NBN and the other side is projected for 2020 perhaps.
    What a croc of you know what

  3. Typically this what happens when you incompetent people in charge ie Liberal National Party of a national infrastructure project. If the original project would not have been scuttled by the LNP maybe this crap may not have happened!!

  4. Disgusting? RSPS and NBN are do incompetent. The Dentist needs to litigate for lost business and other damages
    Slatter and Gordon will sort them out

  5. This is exactly why i have no faith in either political party as can be seen time and time again, they do not care about the little people at the bottom of the dung heap. Shame on all of them. Good luck Little Lane Dental.

  6. All Labor’s fault of course! What a charade the NBN rollout has been. Abbott and his then stooge, Malcolm “Mr Broadband” Turnbull, have stuffed up the perfectly good fibre network scheme developed under Labor.

  7. It’s nothing technical, purely process stuff up.

    I was involved with a customer who asked for a fully working FTTP Internet and landline ported over from iiNet to Optus.

    The Optus sales clerk wrongly created a new landline order (not a ‘port’ of the existing number), and the landline terminated.

    That landline number at that address has been used for decades by the boat tour business and it was the only number hotels and booking agencies knew; it was painted on the business boats and pickup coaches.

    The number was eventually restored – but at a loss of $1,000s of business. It took 5 weeks to be sorted out.

    But then, every month – almost like clockwork – the landline would switch to “this number has been disconnected”. Resolving that would take a week each time, with $1,000s worth of lost business.

    After 18 months in desperation the Internet service and landline number were ported over to Dodo – and has been perfect since (for nearly a year now).

    Clearly it was just some paperwork/administrative screw-up, and no one doing the write thing to fix it.

    NBN or Optus at fault??

  8. This is so wrong for a small business to have to cope with this crap. .
    What can the general public do to help this business get their phone n Internet back on ASAP?.
    I really hope they apply/sue for rembursement of lost business. .
    Just not good enough !!!

  9. I am not sure if it still applies but under the service guarantee I got refunded $38.50 a day that the phone did not work and I got many hundreds of dollars as credit. I will always remember I THINK TELSTRA OWE YOU AN APOLOGY but 1800062058 (TIO office) took it on and telstra coughed up


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