A COMMITTEE of inquiry into the National Broadband Network roll-out in regional Victoria has been abandoned even as residents continue to struggle to get decent service.
The Victorian government recently passed a bill restructuring its committees of inquiry.
One of the impacts of this was that an inquiry into the NBN roll-out in regional Victoria was abandoned part-way through.
No politicians responded to our requests for comment by deadline, but Mitre 10 Ararat and Stawell Simon Jones said the issue was become more urgent as poor service impacts his ability to run his business.
Service to Mr Jones' store went down at the start of June for the majority of the business day.
Related: Optus service repairs disrupt town
He said he received no notification and mixed messages from service providers about the cause of the outage, which he said made things even more difficult.
"We can deal with it if we have an indication," Mr Jones said.
"But no one will tell us when it's going down. We can't contact Telstra because we go through another service provider, so they can only go on what they've been told."
Mr Jones said that his service provider told him the outage was planned, but when he tried to find details on Telstra's website, it said the outage was unplanned and wouldn't be resolved until June 26.
"We ended up going around in circles yesterday trying to figure out what we needed to do," he said.
"We have had a few outages and we have things in place like remote eftpos if all of our eftpos goes down but that leaves us with only one terminal.
"It's absolutely an essential service.
"We had a rough estimate of around 250 to 300 customers (when the internet went down).
"In this day and age the expectation is there. Sometimes we do feel in the country we're treated as second class citizens when our internet and mobile connectivity is not seen as important."
NBN local manager Russell Kelly said NBN Co recognised it was difficult to be patient.
"We recognise planned outages can be frustrating while we upgrade the network," he said.
"It's important that residents and businesses ask their providers for information on outages and arrange alternative connectivity during a planned outage.
"We are progressing major upgrades in the Wimmera region over coming weeks and inform telecommunications providers in advance so they can tell their customers."
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday morning from The Ararat Advertiser. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Ararat shire, sign up here.