NBN may fall prey to wiring scams: ATUG

NBN may fall prey to wiring scams: ATUG

Summary: The National Broadband Network (NBN) could become prey to dodgy installers seeking to rewire people's homes, just like the government's home insulation scheme, according to Australian Telecommunications Users Group managing director Rosemary Sinclair.

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The National Broadband Network (NBN) could become prey to dodgy installers seeking to rewire people's homes, just like the government's home insulation scheme, according to Australian Telecommunications Users Group managing director Rosemary Sinclair.

At a telecommunications roundtable in Sydney today, Sinclair said there was a real danger that the NBN could go the way of the Federal Government's home insulation scheme, with fly-by-night installers offering deals to rewire people's homes on the basis of reports which have said that rewiring costs could be up to $3000 per home.

"That whole debate has created the possibility in people's minds that it's going to cost $3000," she said. "I've said to Liberal Party people 'stop saying this' because all those pink batts people who found themselves out of work will now be retraining themselves. They'll turn up knocking on doors and saying 'look you've heard it's going to cost $3000; boy have I got a deal for you: $500 and I'll do it today'."

"Are we better off if they don't do anything and just take the money?," she added. "They'll be fiddling around with people's wiring. I think we need to grab this issue by the throat and very early get some message out there to people to check trading accreditation."

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said that advertising campaigns, such as one the government intends to run in areas undertaking the switchover from analog to digital television, could be used for the NBN. The government is planning to run a number of ads explaining what devices consumers will need to get access to digital TV. He said there will be a link provided in the ad which will lead to a website listing registered suppliers. This, he hoped, would prevent extortion based on the switchover.

"We need to ensure that [people] do not come and try and exploit this. You are dead right. We have to ensure people aren't getting ripped off," he said. Conroy also admitted that the $3000 cost was in Sydneysiders' minds already.

"The damage has been done. Particularly here in Sydney, it gets picked up and drummed in on one particular radio station," he said. "It's more of an issue here in Sydney of misinformation."

Topics: Government, Broadband, Government AU, NBN

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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18 comments
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  • This is complete nonsense. Unlike insulation installation which can be done by any fool, home wiring can only be done by registered telecommunications cable installers that have had extensive hands on work experience and training to be registered (just like an electrician). Performing that work yourself without being registered can result in very high fines as the potential damage to the telecommunications or electrical network and personal safety hazard is a big issue.
    A registered cabler will have an identification card which can be verified online. You can report any unregistered cabler or non-compliant work directly to the ACMA on their website.
    Unlike the poorly regulated insulation installers, communications cabling installation is far more heavily regulated and enforced due to the obvious greater hazard potential so this article is just plain wrong to claim that cabling installation will be exploited similar to the home insulation scheme.
    davmel
  • There may be greater regulation and control surrounding cabling but do you think the average person knows this? From what i have seen people don't realize that you need to be a registered cabler with the appropriate endorsements to work on particular types of cabling.

    I think it would be a very good idea to have some sort of advertising regime put in place to ensure anyone who does have cabling done that they ask for proof of registration.
    icuimp
  • There may be greater regulation and control surrounding cabling but do you think the average person knows this? From what i have seen people don't realize that you need to be a registered cabler with the appropriate endorsements to work on particular types of cabling.

    I think it would be a very good idea to have some sort of advertising regime put in place to ensure anyone who does have cabling done that they ask for proof of registration.
    icuimp
  • It is happening now with the current system - home theatre etc. Don't need the NBN to highlight this.
    There a plenty of people out there claiming to know what they are doing in regards to cabling when they do not.

    In my experience, being licensed is no guarantee the operator knows what they are doing.
    bert10000
  • Yes, unfortunately all good intentions from governments (be they Labor or Coalition) can be brought unstuck by greedy ***tards, out for a quick buck...
    RS-ef540
  • It would be good if education could play a part in the NBN and people become aware of the pitfalls (i.e. dont read the drivel coming from the Australian pages)...as far as I can see it, cabling isnt really required as current routers will do the job well now and by the time the NBN is in use, the routers that will be available will have evolved and will allow the high speeds that the NBN will provide...
    brokey
  • Storm in a tea cup. By the time NBN gets to Sydney people will have long since forgotten about this problem.

    Might have thought that the people who do cabling for a living might have fought back a bit, but they seem quite as mice.

    Mr C has already said that most people in TAS are just using wireless or plugging stuff directly into the ONT.
    WTW-eb748
  • While we are talking about regulation, what about “false and misleading conduct” under the Trade Practices Act. If a radio station is peddling misleading information about the required networking, is this requirement being enforced?

    If newspapers are less tightly regulated, at least radio licences have formal licence obligations in relation to news.

    And the enforcement agencies are doing and saying what exactly? Even a warning to radio licences would be nice.
    Listohan
  • The organisation behind the registration of cablers needs to be proactive with this, they need to be upfront early on what a registered cabler ID looks like and how to cross check with the organisations contact number.

    A published list on benchmark pricing for different complexities of cable jobs would also be helpful just so the end user has some basic cross check that they are not being ripped off or getting cable work installed that they actually don't need.
    advocate-d95d7
  • Agree 100%...!
    RS-ef540
  • Blanket advertising blitz on one outlet will suffice, that being on the parrott's morning Liberal Party advertising program on 2UE Sydney. BTW, forget Abbott and Turnbull countering it, the parrott is easily bought by spare NBN funds, cash for comment can be quite effective with the unwashed!
    btone-c5d11
  • It is not misinformation to say that wiring a whole house would cost $3000. It would be misinformation to say that it is a requirement to connect to the NBN to wire your whole house. How many people have a TV or phone socket in every room? It's not required and many devices these days only work on wireless. So NBN will provide a socket and if you need more, use wireless or you elect to wire your house which you could already have done so if you thought it was such a great idea.
    coolhairdude
  • I just sit and laugh. All these sharks circling around the public & private purse. First the telco companies which may lose customers to the wholesale NBN, running constant anti-NBN campaigns in the media (where did the $3,000 figure come from, when you can use a perfect wireless modem router for $95 ). Then, all other interests - like Rosemary's Guild. At least the electricians have a valid argument with danger to life. Cabling installers have laughable argument for their monopoly - "damage to public network". My God, all these merchants of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt). But, do not worry at a thousand or two, they will save us from ourselves and all those nasty people not paying Guild fees.
    kizakiza
  • I, being a Licenced Electrical Contractor fo at least the last 50 years, take extreme umbrage at the above statement.

    I make a point of keeping in touch with the latest tachniques, and S A A Wiring rule changes.
    Fredsan
  • How will the average joe know that accredited cablers will carry a card they can check online? Someone shows up explaining you will be charged $3k to connect to the NBN and does it for 1/10th of the price; do you think they are going to ask questions?
    james@...
  • This is a non issue article. You put that much cash into an Industry and of course some evil elements are going to line up for their share. What is more important is what will be done about it. TV adverts are well and good but I think anyone selling services related to NBN should be made to be licensed so that there is some level of quality control.

    I'm no fan of this government but you would think they would have learnt their lesson from the last fiasco.
    mwil19-a34f7
  • Rosemary Sinclair from ATUG is quite right. There needs to be an information campaign to counter the NBN porkies, mostly coming from one radio source and one newspaper. The usual media standard applies - ask how much it would cost to cable every room in a very large house ($3,000-5,000) and then quote that over and over as the cost for every connection.

    And kiza, you may like to know that ATUG only represents end-users, not cable installers.
    gnome-8be8a
  • Can a person obtain ACMA registration without work experience in cabling ?

    Are the training providers who offer short courses in copper wire and fibre optics registered and monitored by any Regulatory authority ?

    Does a Training Provider have to be a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to deliver the courses for ACMA registration ?

    If not, will the quality of the courses be questionable ? Will it lead to another scam similar to the Insulation ?
    JoePete-c666b