The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has announced the launch of Get Connected, its ADSL mapping service and advice for consumers who are waiting for the National Broadband Network (NBN) to be rolled out to them.
In an effort to halt complaints about being unable to access or connect to broadband services, ACCAN's tool "helps consumers to understand the reasons that may be preventing them from getting an ADSL service".
ACCAN's mapping service will fill in the gaps left by telcos that do not make clear where their coverage is available; it will alert consumers as to whether their local exchange is too distant, has no available ports, or is not ADSL enabled.
As such, consumers will know what the connectivity issue is without having to spend time waiting to speak to telco customer service centres, with the information also designed to help make decisions on what type of connectivity and length of contract to obtain prior to the NBN being rolled out in their area.
"The mapping tool will be useful for consumers moving into a new house to check if there are issues with broadband services before they move, and also to consumers who will be waiting a long time for an adequate service," said ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin.
"We often hear from consumers who have moved into a new area only to find out there are no ADSL services available to their new home."
ACCAN has also provided a series of steps to consumers on how to check which telcos can provide an ADSL service to their premises, and whether there is a waiting list with a particular telco to do so.
"We are seeing a lot more consumers who are unable to get any connection and are told there is no waiting list and have no affordable and suitable alternative options available to them," Corbin explained.
"We hope these resources will empower consumers to get the broadband services they need. We know there is a lot of confusion and consumers don't understand what to do."
The NBN is slated to be completed by 2020, and is expected to provide 17 percent of Australian premises with fibre to the premises (FttP); 51 percent with fibre to the node (FttN), fibre to the basement (FttB), and fibre to the distribution point (FttDP); 24 percent with hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC); and 8 percent with fixed wireless and satellite.
ACCAN's announcement comes a day after its 2016 national conference, where retail service provider Activ8me revealed it has a backlog of 24,000 customers with no broadband connection waiting to be connected to NBN's satellite service while they endure "teething problems" with the installation process.
Australia's three largest telcos also used the ACCAN conference to debate the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) enquiry into whether to declare wholesale domestic mobile roaming, with Telstra saying that Vodafone Australia should not be given a "free ride" on Telstra's extensive, nationwide network, as it is free to invest in its own network.
On the other hand, Vodafone said that declaring wholesale mobile roaming is "the only way" to provide competition and choice for those living in rural and remote areas.