THE National Broadband Network roll-out will be complete in Ararat by June, but residents in areas that are already connected say it is bringing its own connectivity problems.
Andrew de Groot lives in Ararat and runs a caravan park in Halls Gap and said NBN service drop-outs due to upgrade works are impacting his ability to run a business.
"For the last six months or so it is constantly cutting out, or it goes really slow," he said.
"(NBN Co) have been doing so-called upgrades on it for the last few months and the problem is we never get any notifications. You go to Telstra or the NBN sites to find out what's happening and after an hour on the phone to Telstra you find out it was a planned outage."
An NBN Co spokesman said it was the responsibility of the retailer to inform customers of planned outages.
"We are a wholesaler and our relationship is with the retailer, who is the contact point for residents and businesses," he said.
"As a wholesaler, NBN Co is required to provide a minimum of 10 business days' notice to retail service, which we meet and in some cases exceed.
"We apologise for the inconvenience these works have caused, and we ask the community for its patience while these critical and complex works are carried out."
Mr de Groot said he had sent a complaint asking what the upgrades were designed to achieve.
"We did send them a complaint saying basically, you keep doing this maintenance all the time but it's not improving the service," he said.
However, Mr de Groot said ADSL speeds in Ararat also appear to have slowed.
"For the last three months the ADSL has been cutting in and out," he said. "The speed is averaging about three to four megabits a second and you can't even watch Netflix on it. It's just so unreliable."
The NBN Co spokesman said the installation of the NBN does not impact other internet services.
"The roll-out does not affect the experience of people using older internet networks," he said.
NBN regional manager Graham Soawyer will provide an update on the roll-out at an upcoming Ararat Rural City Council business breakfast on June 12.
Once the NBN is available, residents will have 18 months to switch over to an NBN plan.
Meanwhile, a private communications company is putting the finishing touches on its plans to offer a high-speed fixed wireless internet network to the West Wimmera, Hindmarsh and Yarriambiack shires.
Jordi Rosenfield, director of Commsearch, which is managing the project, said the organisation hoped to offer the service to residents within the next few months.
"I've been talking to residents in the area for about 12 months, and there are lots of people unhappy with quality of National Broadband Network satellite - but also with other types of NBN technology like fibre-to-the-node," he said. "We're trying to bridge the gap."
Most towns in the Wimmera have access to fixed wireless internet under the NBN, where data is transmitted over radio signals to connect premises to the broadband access network.
Kaniva and Sea Lake only have access to the NBN via satellite technology known as Sky Muster, which became available in April 2016 but delivers slower upload and download rates.
Mr Rosenfield said the company would not face the same hurdles as the National Broadband Network in delivering reliable broadband speeds.
"NBN fixed wireless has levels of delivery affecting how many people can access a tower at any given time," he said.
"Every fixed wireless tower can support a certain amount of users with its bandwidth and it's up to the carrier to balance demand.
"NBNCo operates in such a way where a certain number of users will have access to good speeds at any given time before the service gets slower.
"Our philosophy is to not have as many people using our service compared with the bandwidth available at any one time as the NBN will.
"We will try to oversupply rather than under-supply the amount of bandwidth per customer."
Mr Rosenfield said residents and organisations had offered Commsearch high points where they could install devices to transmit the signals from the mobile stations they would build to remote areas.
"We still have to cross the Ts and dot the Is in terms of commercial agreements, but lots of people have shown interest in offering up their grain elevators or silos to use as repeater sites," he said.
"If everything fell into place I would hope we would be able to offer plans by the end of September."
Mr Rosenfield said the Nhill-Kaniva area would be targeted in stage one of the rollout.
"In regional areas where the population is denser or growing, NBNCo has historically gone in and offered fixed wireless," he said.
"It hasn't this time obviously, that's why out of whole Wimmera that's a red flag for us as really needing fixed wireless.
"Hopefully we can get a significant number people on board and generate more revenue to feed back into the project."
Mr Rosenfield said the company had also been involved in efforts to get a fixed wireless network up and running in Queensland's Darling Downs region in 2018.
West Wimmera Shire Councillor Bruce Meyer, a Kaniva resident, told the Mail-Times Commsearch had spoken to council, and had received tentative approval from residents about where to place their infrastructure.
A spokeswoman for Hindmarsh Shire Council said Commsearch had provided them with information but doesn't have a position at this stage. Yarriambiack Shire CEO Jessie Holmes said they were helping Commsearch to establish the level of demand for such a service in the region.
Kaniva Progress Association's Helen Hobbs, who lives 20 kilometres from town, said many businesses in town remained on ADSL connection, which was still available.
"Internet delivered via ADSL is being phased out," she said.
"This leaves the Kaniva community with the option of NBN satellite, or mobile data.
"Personally speaking, we have had satellite since it first became available and have experienced a number of issues around data plans, speeds and reliability."
Mrs Hobbs said Wimmera Broadband, which is investigating and designing the proposal alongside Commsearch, attended the association's May meeting to gauge public interest.
However, a spokesman for Telstra said it would not switch off its ADSL connection to Kaniva, given the town received its NBN via satellite as opposed to fixed wireless broadband.
Meanwhile, NBNCo has stood by its decision not to give Kaniva fixed wireless technology as part of the rollout.
NBN local for Victoria head Ebony Aitken said several factors determined which technology was chosen for each area - including geographical location, existing infrastructure and population density.
"To serve premises in and around Kaniva the NBN Sky Muster satellite has been determined as the best technology for the area," she said.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Thursday released new advice for regional fixed wireless customers experiencing slow internet speeds.
It includes how to seek compensation from a provider if they receive poor speeds and how they can get more information about their service.
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