Letters to the editor | August 11, 2017

Nullawil sisters Ashlei Poyner, 5, and Millie Poyner, 3, at the Mallee Machinery Field Days at Speed last week.
Nullawil sisters Ashlei Poyner, 5, and Millie Poyner, 3, at the Mallee Machinery Field Days at Speed last week.

Calling for NBN answers

THE Post Master General (PMG) and their successors, Telecom then Telstra, built the fixed line infrastructure and delivered telephone and internet services to customers in Horsham and Australia.

They were responsible for the update and maintenance of the infrastructure to the customer’s residence.

At a past date, Telecom was privatised by the Commonwealth Government.

The market for retailing of telephone and internet services was opened to competition between Telstra and others, for example, Optus using the Telstra infrastructure.

Telstra was still responsible for the cost of maintaining the infrastructure.

At a later date the Commonwealth Government decided to build a new communications infrastructure system using fibre optic cable to each customer.

NBN Co was set up to build the new infrastructure.

The government negotiated a deal with Telstra worth $12 billion to purchase their old copper wire network infrastructure.

Private providers would retail the NBN service to customers as the infrastructure became “NBN Ready”.

NBN Co have commenced to roll out their infrastructure in Horsham. They have stated that the system will be “NBN Ready” in a few months. They advertise it will provide reliable high-speed internet.

How will this impact on Horsham customers? There is no transparency to customers reliant on the copper wire network. 

I now have regular dropouts of my internet service. I had no dropouts before NBN Co began installation of new optic fibre and the connection to the switching infrastructure at the exchange.

Most of the established customers will still have to rely on a copper wire network to connect back at the optic fibre cabinets.

The copper wire was installed in the mid 1950s. The copper network has received little maintenance. It has degraded with age. It now suffers severe leakage of signal. It is unsuitable for purpose.

I ask the NBN Co the following questions: 

  • How does NBN Co propose to maintain, repair or replace the remaining copper network between the fibre optic cabinet and the customer’s residence?
  • How will NBN Co enforce the role and responsibility of the retailer in regard to copper wire network maintenance and repair?  
  • How will NBN Co ensure that the customer does not suffer in a blame game between NBN CO and the retailers over faults?  
  • Will NBN Co guarantee that customers will not be charged for any new installation,  maintenance or repair to the copper wire network? 
  • Will NBN Co guarantee that all approved retailers are able offer an alternative of reduced rate for plans to customers remaining on the copper wire network? 

Mike Ryan, Horsham

Editor’s note: The Wimmera Mail-Times has put Mr Ryan’s questions to NBN Co and was awaiting a response at deadline. 

Same-sex marriage

I COMMENT Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party for again trying to implement a plebiscite regarding same-sex marriage.

I hope the proposed postal vote, while a less acceptable second choice, goes ahead rather than a Parliament-only vote.

With a plebiscite, Australian people would have had a direct vote so that they are more likely to own the result than through a representative vote by Parliament.  

As a person opposed to same-sex marriage because of my Christian belief, I already feel the media and propaganda by same-sex marriage advocates are trying to gag me. Sometimes I almost feel bullied by what people say about those who oppose same-sex marriage.  

A vote in Parliament only would make this feeling stronger since I haven’t really had a chance to make my wishes known in a meaningful way.

I appreciate that those caught in a homosexual lifestyle might feel the same and believe sexual orientation should not be met with discrimination or maltreatment.  

However asking the state to put its stamp of approval on what has been and is still seen by many people as an immoral lifestyle goes beyond equality. Neither side should have the right to force its opinion on the other.

Because my opinion is based on God’s Word, I can’t change it willy-nilly. He is the ultimate lawgiver as well as Saviour so I must obey Him. So please at least give me a chance to make my wishes known.

Fran Durow, Horsham