The ABC claim that a senior telecommunications industry executive, who does not wish to be named, says he expects “tens of thousands of Australians” to fall into a “limbo” of “interim solutions” each year because Telstra is now providing ony basic telephone services to homes instead of full copper wire services.
Telstra has hit back claiming that only 200 homes out of 8 million in Australia have the “basic” service.
The telecommunication expert said that Telstra is proving reluctant to install copper networks in smaller new housing estates where the company retains a universal service obligation (USO) to provide only basic telephone services.
Instead of installing copper in housing estates of fewer than 100 houses, Telstra is often providing residents with wireless phones that are unable to connect to the internet.
The ABC claimed that Alec Downs moved into a new house in Berwick in suburban Melbourne last December. Telstra told him it was not laying any more copper, but to meet its universal service obligation, it gave him an interim wireless phone that cannot deliver internet.
Instead he has had to buy a wireless ‘dongle’ with very patchy reception, with no hope of a landline internet connection in the near future.
“Telstra told me that I can’t get a copper connection so I have to stay on the interim phone until the National Broadband Network comes through,” Mr Downs told the ABC News Online Investigative Unit.
“The NBN is set to roll out over a number of years, so I could be in this situation for two years or five years or more.
“I’m in the middle of suburban Melbourne and I was hoping to have full normal internet connections and do all the things people do, but I found myself in a kind of black spot with very limited access.”