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What's life really like on the NBN?

Stephanie McDonald | May 22, 2013
Computerworld Australia spoke Kiama Downs residents about their experiences using the NBN.

She says her only option is to replace the Engin VoIP phone and organise a new one through Exetel.

Despite the dropouts and installation problems, Williams says he is happy with the network and it's been a big improvement for her.

"I notice the difference when I go to clients' offices and I've got to access their Internet ... I'm starting to get impatient with everybody else's Internet," she says.

Her daughter lives in Kiama and is using mobile Internet.

"It's so slow. I don't know how she puts up with it. I can't handle it. I'm getting spoilt here," she says.

Unlike Williams, Nick Hartgernik, owner of Hartgerink Media Services, a publishing consulting company that operates out of his home, has not had any problems with the NBN and is extremely happy with the network.

His house was one of the first homes to be connected to the NBN in Kiama Downs and was a test area for technicians to demonstrate the challenges of hauling fibre to existing premises.

He typically uses the NBN to send and receive large files, such as images and PDFs of publications, which he says is downloaded and uploaded quickly.

The NBN has also made it easier for Hartgernik to communicate with his graphic designer, who lives in Sydney, and a photographer who lives in Wollongong, about a 30 minute drive from Kiama Downs.

"When I first started my business about 11 years ago I found slow Internet speeds were such an impediment and often I couldn't send large files," he says.

"I'd have to put a whole lot of pictures on discs and post them and now that's just a thing of the past. It's really streamlined my business and made it quicker."

He was previously on an ADSL connection and is now on a 25/5 Mbps plan with 100GB of data for $64.95 per month.

Hartgernik believes he is saving around $200 a month in phone calls by using a VoIP phone line on the NBN, paying $9.95 per month for unlimited national calls.

The only issue Hartgernik said he has had with the network were noise issues associated with drilling in the early rollout period prior to an agreement being signed with Telstra to use its conduits.

"It's a very hard rock here -- basalt rock -- and there was a lot of very slow drilling going on around our neighbourhood, which was a little bit annoying," he says.

Hartgernik attributes the strong take-up rate to the NBN in the Kiama area as being due to the local council being strong supporters of the network and proactively encouraging residents to embrace the opportunities offered by it.

"I would also think that word of mouth [has been good]. I tell all my friends how happy I am with it and I'm sure others do too," he says.


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