WIMMERA councils have been left in limbo following changes to the National Broadband Network.
Only two estates in the Wimmera remain on NBNCo’s roll-out map for broadband following a drastic overhaul.
Four of the region’s seven municipalities said on Thursday they had not been contacted about the project since the federal election and did not know if the Federal Government would carry out plans put in place by the former Labor Government.
New Horsham estates Sunnybrae and Waterlink remain on the map because NBN installation had started there before the government change-over.
Both will be serviced by fixed internet lines.
Unless construction has started or NBN is already available, other areas on the roll-out map are marked ‘not currently available’.
Before the election, the map showed one and three-year construction areas.
Horsham was previously highlighted.
Horsham Rural City Council chief executive Peter Brown said optic fibre NBN internet connections to the city’s houses had been imminent.
“Planning and testing work was being done in the fourth quarter of this calendar year and the first quarter of the next one, with roll-out to follow,” he said.
“If that’s going to change, we’d like to know.”
Mr Brown said residents were making business decisions based on the NBN roll-out.
NBN fixed wireless towers had also been planned for Pimpinio, Quantong, Natimuk and Haven.
Yarriambiack Shire Council infrastructure and planning director James Magee said he was waiting for information on how the NBN would progress.
“Approvals are in place for fixed wireless towers in Rupanyup, Murtoa, Minyip, Warracknabeal, Brim, Beulah and Hopetoun,” he said.
“We have not heard of any change, so we’re assuming things are as per the original roll-out.”
Hindmarsh Shire Council infrastructure services director Douglas Gowans said nobody had contacted him about the plans for an internet tower in Rainbow.
He said NBNCo had indicated before the election that Dimboola and Nhill would get optic fibre connections.
“I don’t know if the change of government will mean a change of technology,” he said.
Mr Gowans said he wanted to ensure the shire would still get a first-rate connection.
“It would be great to know what the planned roll-out would be to give the community some surety,” he said.
Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Wayne Rice said NBNCo had not signed service contracts before the election and had not contacted him since.
“Stephen Conroy’s office kept referring to the spine,” he said.
“They were saying the main fibre cable would run up the Western Highway, which should allow any places on the Western Highway to get fibre connections to the home.
“But nothing had been committed to paper.”
Wimmera Development Association executive director Jo Bourke said fast, reliable internet was crucial for the region’s development.
“To be competitive as a region we need to have access to services as they become available,” she said.
An NBNCo spokesman said the network construction would continue as usual until a strategic review was completed.
He said the review would determine the best way forward.
“The maps will be updated when further areas enter the building stage and the shape of the roll-out becomes clearer,” he said.