Telstra has agreed to upgrade its internet services in Medowie as a stopgap until the national broadband network arrives.
A top-hat device will be installed in Pacific Dunes to service 250 homes and it’s expected to bring some relief to residents elsewhere in Medowie like Alex Hering.
Slow connection speeds and service interruptions have plagued his family since they moved there in January 2016.
“Everything freezes,” Mr Hering said.
“You could be halfway through [streaming] a show and it will just cut out. Julie and I pay $50 a month for [our son] Leo to undertake maths tutoring online and it won’t work.”
Mr Hering lodged numerous complaints with his service provider Telstra which credited him $20 on his $99 plan when the complaint wasn’t resolved.
“They’re offering a service and they’re charging full price but not delivering what you pay for,” he said.
“I ran a test and our speed was one megabit per second.”
Many residents in the area have aired similar grievances through the Medowie Community Group Facebook page.
“It comes up when people first move to the area,” Mr Hering said.
“Like us they ask who else has bad internet connections and the discussion goes off.”
Mr Hering lodged complaints with the ombudsman and the Minister for Regional Communication Fiona Nash.
It was only when he took the complaint to Paterson MP Meryl Swanson that he began to get answers.
Ms Swanson said Telstra’s commitment to install the top hat was a win.
“Many residents in Medowie either have slow internet or can’t connect at all, and the nbn is not due to be rolled out there till the end of next year,” she said.
“This work that Telstra is doing will mean 250 homes can connect to ADSL, and congestion should be relieved for many others.”
Ms Swanson said it had taken constant lobbying from her office but she’s been advised the work will be completed mid-year.
She said the top-hat would not only allow 250 homes to connect to ADSL but also provide “backhaul relief” to relieve congestion and increase capacity.
“This work will hopefully provide some relief for long-suffering internet users in Medowie until the nbn is switched on at the end of next year,” Ms Swanson said.