A HAVEN resident has claimed Telstra is holding her ransom as she fights for better internet access across Horsham Rural City.
Haven houses were left without internet between August 13 and 16 after a fault at Telstra's Haven sub-exchange.
But resident Brandi Galpin said her internet speed had been dipping below one megabyte a second for months.
"The further you live away from the transmitter in Horsham, the worse your internet speed is," she said. "Other internet providers can't even provide a better service for us because it all has to go through Telstra's exchanges.
"I can't not be with Telstra though because then I would be without a service altogether. They are basically holding us to ransom."
Mrs Galpin also said Telstra could not add any more customers to its Horsham network because the city's ports were at capacity.
"The internet is becoming a basic need and we should not have to pay premium prices for the slow service," she said.
Mrs Galpin is not the first Wimmera resident to complain about Telstra's internet services.
Up to 40 Minyip families lost phone and wireless internet for more than six weeks in March and April, while a Rainbow resident also complained about slow connection speeds last month.
Some Goroke residents have been without phone and home internet services for more than five weeks.
Work on the National Broadband Network is due to start in Horsham and Haven in December, with services becoming available from mid-2014.
But one of the region's internet service providers, who did not want to be named, said the NBN might not help customers outside Horsham's centre.
"Telstra has not advised what is going to happen in Horsham or surrounding areas," the provider said.
"We know that within Horsham, people will have an NBN connection but areas outside, such as Haven and Quantong, will have NBN wireless which won't be as fast and could be expensive based on what has happened in other areas. "
Telstra did not respond to Mail-Times calls.