NBN Co abandons East Dubbo

Eastridge is no longer categorised as part of the NBN Co's 'build preparation' area in Dubbo. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
Eastridge is no longer categorised as part of the NBN Co's 'build preparation' area in Dubbo. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Mystery surrounds the delay of the NBN rollout in Eastridge with neither Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson or federal member for Parkes Mark Coulton knowing why the area is missing out.

The NBN Co Rollout map shows the majority of Dubbo is still in the 'build preparation' stage, however Eastridge, which was initially going to be the first area connected, has now been excluded.

NBN Co spokesperson Andrew Sholl said it was "purely a sequencing issue".

"It's over ambition on our part," Mr Sholl said.

"Absolutely the whole of Dubbo will get the NBN. Every area is getting the NBN."

When asked if Eastridge has been delayed because it was a more difficult area to connect, Mr Sholl simply said "no".

He said there was no reason in particular why the connection to 2,400 premises at Eastridge had been delayed over any other area.

Mr Scholl said physical construction on the areas which were still being connected in the first wave would begin in the next couple of months, but was unable to say when it would start in Eastridge.

"The whole of the NBN network is due to be completed by 2020," he said.

Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson said he doesn't know why Eastridge has been delayed.

"I've had daily conversations with NBN over the past two weeks and I'm not sure," he said.

"I don't know at this stage exactly what is happening.

"The interesting part is I was told Eastridge would be the first connected."

While he couldn't give a definitive answer, Mr Coulton said the changes were made after NBN undertook a review of the rollout.

"I'm not entirely sure at the reason they're making these changes but Eastridge will be connected."

Mr Coulton said it was his understanding that construction would begin in the next few weeks for the first wave rollout in Dubbo and the rest of the city would follow "as quickly as possible".

"I have lobbied very hard for the whole of Dubbo to get the rollout at once," he said.

Cr Dickerson said last year Eastridge was going to be the first area connected to NBN.

"Eastridge has the worst connection in Dubbo so it would make sense to start there but the critical issue isn't if Eastridge gets it first, second or third, the critical issue is that we get FTTP [fibre to the premises] everywhere."

He said he didn't want there to be a digital divide if half of the city had FTTP and the rest had fibre to the node.

Mr Scholl said NBN Co was currently in the negotiation stage with contractors and the areas in the 'build preparation' stage would be connected within 12 month of the physical work starting.

The map that shows which areas in Dubbo are in the 'build preparation stage' and which have been delayed can be viewed at www.nbnco.com.au.


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