By Kirra Grimes
THE manager of Nyora’s new medical centre has spoken out after months of frustrating dealings with NBN Co that delayed the facility’s much-anticipated official opening, and still have no resolution in sight.
Following the issuing of a public apology, via Facebook, for delays in registering patient details and taking appointments, practice manager Jacqui Armstrong has told the Sentinel-Times the refurbished Davis Street premises has been dogged by issues with the National Broadband Network (NBN) since July, when she first requested an NBN phone and internet connection.
These have included numerous “no shows” from NBN Co staff booked in to attend the medical centre several weeks in advance, and confusing and ill-timed email and text messages saying that the appointments have been rescheduled.
The explanation for these incidents has also been unsatisfactory, Jacqui says, and with no indication that NBN would be installed any time soon, the medical centre team decided they couldn’t wait any longer.
They went ahead and opened for their first appointments on September 2, relying on two Telstra 4G modems for their phone and internet communications, along with “the oldest fax machine [they] could find,” because newer models simply “won’t run” on this type of connection.
“Absolutely shocking,” is how Jacqui describes the situation, which she’s reported to the telecommunications ombudsman.
“Basically, if it wasn’t for Telstra, we wouldn’t be open,” she said, placing the blame squarely on NBN Co.
“The first NBN guy came out to put the antenna on at about 4.30 in the afternoon, when it was almost dark.
“He took one look at the roof and said he couldn’t put it [the antenna] up because it was a tin roof.
“Then he disappeared, and we never heard from him again,” she said.
NBN Co’s explanation was that the job was a non-standard installation that required an approved NBN installer.
But Jacqui’s still waiting for that installer to turn up, and has been on the phone to NBN Co “every other day” for the past two months trying to get some answers.
“Every time the appointment comes around, they cancel it and give us another date. There’s been times they haven’t shown up and I’ve gotten a message at 1am the next morning letting me know it’s been rescheduled,” she said.
“I don’t understand why they can’t just send someone to put an antenna on the roof. We can see the NBN tower from the clinic!
“But it’s like the first guy came out and put it in the ‘too hard basket’ and nothing’s happened since then.”
The Sentinel-Times contacted NBN Co for further information, and a spokesperson confirmed there had been delays in responding to the medical centre’s request to connect to the NBN, lodged on July 12.
“We apologise to the Nyora Medical Centre for the delay and understand the frustration this has caused,” the spokesperson said.
“We are now working to resolve the issue and finalise the connection as soon as possible.”