Confidence in NBN plummets
CLARENCE Valley businesses have expressed their concerns the NBN will fail to live up to the hype in a recent statewide survey.
Sixty-five businesses responded to the survey conducted by the NSW Business Chamber, which asked whether their business was currently connected to the NBN, with 75% responding that they were not.
Respondents also estimated delays and disruptions in the roll-out of the NBN are costing NSW businesses, on average, more than $9000.
Northern Rivers Business Chamber regional manager Jane Laverty said businesses in the region were concerned with issues over unreliability, poor performance and a lack of customer support.
"It is a real issue and businesses are struggling with a lack of information, and expectations are high surrounding the NBN in regards to what it can deliver and at the moment it's not living up to expectations," Mrs Laverty said.
"We fear it will get to a point where if this continues to happen businesses will lose deals to those that are in a better position with their online infrastructure.
"The comments we've been hearing when I attend local chamber meetings is that many businesses rely on their internet connection, whether it's using the internet for sales or for customer communications, and to have unreliable or sporadic connections is really concerning for us."
In Iluka, Hogue's Hot Bread owner Annette Hamilton said she wasn't holding her breath over the NBN being any more reliable than their current internet connection.
"NBN Co keep making promises that we will be connected but nothing has happened," she said.
"I can't see it making any difference even if we are connected. We've heard a lot about how it's going to be a wonderful thing but we've been here 17 years and our past experiences with the reliability of other services in town like electricity and water has been disappointing."
An NBN Co spokesman said they were working hard to provide quality services to the Clarence Valley.
"We want all Australian businesses to have a good experience when connecting their services to the NBN access network," they said.
"We know there is more that needs to be done to ensure Australians get the broadband service they want and we are working hard alongside our service provider partners to better meet these expectations."
Construction to NBN's Fixed Line network in the Clarence Valley is due to start next year. About 5000 homes and businesses in the area currently have the ability to order retail services over the NBN access network.
The NSW Business Chamber has put together tips for businesses looking to connect to the NBN and can be found on their website.