POTENTIAL DANGERS: Tony Corbett of Rileys Hill with his NBN equipment.
POTENTIAL DANGERS: Tony Corbett of Rileys Hill with his NBN equipment. Ross Kendall

Lightning strikes computer gear through NBN antennae

A LIGHTNING strike at Rileys Hill has exposed the potential dangers of the NBN internet equipment as well as destroying $2000 worth of computer gear.

The storm that ripped through Coraki at the end of January also hit Rileys Hill, west of Broadwater, bringing with it a lightning strike that fried Tony Corbett's Foxtel and NBN internet connection.

The services have long been reconnected but Mr Corbett still doesn't know why NBN Co didn't deploy equipment to protect family members from the potential dangers from lightning strikes, or whether or not his computer gear will be replaced.

The lightning strike destroyed his NBN modem as well as the ethernet portal in the wall that connects to the NBN antennae on his garage. The power surge also ruined his computer, monitor and printer.

Anyone using the computer at the time of the strike could have been in real trouble, he said.

Even if the NBN modem was unplugged during a storm the power surge could still hurt people in the room if it travelled through the line and went looking for an earth, he said.

"My grandchildren live in the computer room. You can replace computer equipment, but you cannot replace human life," he said.

The Foxtel equipment had a power surge protection that protected Mr Corbett's TV, but he doesn't understand why his NBN-connected gear wasn't protected in the same way.

His computer system was originally worth about $2,000, but also contained irreplaceable photos and other personal data that cannot be replaced, he said.

NBN co hadn't provided an answer to his query submitted on February 13, failing its own 5-day response deadline.

The internet provider has launched an Investigation within its Occupational, Health and Safety unit, among others according to correspondence, Mr Corbett has had with NBN co.

At this stage no-one from NBN Co has contacted the Corbetts to find out what happened, he said.

NBN co follows all applicable Australian Safety Standards "when installing our equipment in and end-users premises," a spokesperson for NBN Co said.

"The NBN equipment at the end-user's premises has been replaced and the service is functional again," she said.



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