Ballarat businesses risk phone cut-off as NBN deadline nears

THE deadline is nearing for Ballarat businesses to make the switch to the National Broadband Network.

In surrounding regions, the rollout has already begun.

Businesses in parts of Bacchus Marsh and Maddingley have only weeks to move their phone and internet services to the NBN, before the existing copper services in the area are disconnected on October 5. A similar process will follow in Ballarat, with businesses in parts of Lake Wendouree, Newington, and Ballarat Central earmarked to make the switch to the NBN in the coming months.

While no date has been set, The Courier can reveal that by as early as May next year, existing copper lines in these areas will be disconnected. 

In June, The Courier reported that delays in connecting to the NBN across the city, had sparked fears of a backlog which traders said was costing them business.

Last month, poor workmanship and shoddy construction work was blamed for lengthy delays in the rollout of the NBN by residents living in suburbs, including Redan. 

On Monday, Telstra Country Wide general manager Bill Mundy said the rollout was on track and the countdown was on for business using copper lines in the Moorabool shire to move to NBN Co’s fibre network. 

He said it was also a timely reminder for Ballarat businesses to act before the “copper service retirement date” and avoid any potential disruptions to their landline and broadband services.

Mr Mundy warned that the transaction to the NBN wasn’t automatic and an order needed to be placed to move networks.

“Although it may seem like businesses have had a long time to move, transferring services onto the NBN can take some time and co-ordination,” Mr Mundy said. 

Malcolm Trusk, owner of the Bacchus Marsh Uniform Store made the move to the NBN last September.

Mr Trusk’s largely online business sells work wear and corporate wear to companies all over Australia.

He said prior to connecting to the NBN, his internet connectivity was often delayed.

“What we were finding prior to then was that staff dealing with customers on the phone had to refresh pages constantly and there would be repeated delays,” Mr Trusk said.

“We ship all over Australia and get orders anywhere from Hobart to Darwin so it’s vital we are efficient and have fast access to the internet.”

Mr Trusk said since joining to the high-speed broadband, staff had not experienced any connectivity delays.

He added that since moving to a new voice and broadband package as part of the rollout, his voice, data and mobile bills had decreased. 

Mr Mundy said the benefits of the NBN for businesses included faster uploads and downloads.

He said business owners who wanted to keep the same number needed to contact their Telstra consultant so their service could be transferred. 

For information, visit the Telstra Business Centre at 112 Doveton Street South, Ballarat, or call 1800 659 616.

melissa.cunningham@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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