Residents who moved into their new houses in a housing estate in Wollongbar on the New South Wales coast found that they had no phone connection, and were given no estimated date on when they would be connected.
According to local paper The Northern Star, which first reported the issue yesterday, residents who had sought to connect their phones in the new 140-lot housing estate had been told by Telstra technicians that there was no cable installed. The company also informed them that it could have been "days, weeks, months" until their phones could be connected, because of a dispute between the developers and the Federal Government.
In greenfields estates such as this, where there are more than 100 lots, the government-owned company charged with rolling out the Federal Government's National Broadband Network (NBN), NBN Co, is designated to be the fibre provider of last resort, and will supply fibre to the estates free of charge — provided that the pits and ducts for the fibre meet NBN Co's specifications, and the developer applies with NBN Co.
However, this lot was first approved in 2008, before NBN Co took over this role. In this case, Telstra told ZDNet Australia that it had responsibility for connecting the houses, and would use copper — not fibre — in these housing developments.
Telstra said that it is working on connections for the estate, which will likely be finished next month.
"Telstra initiated a project prior to Christmas to provide copper cable to the Avalon estate. This is expected to be completed by the end of February," Telstra said.
In the meantime, Telstra will provide interim wireless services, and has contacted the residents to allay concerns.
NBN Co told ZDNet Australia that although this site is not an NBN Co greenfields site, there is another in the area, which the company will roll out fibre to.
"We do have an approved application to develop another estate at the other end of Wollongbar, but residents are not due to be ready to receive services until the end of May."
NBN Co assumed responsibility of fibre provider of last resort for greenfields sites in January 2011, and, since then, the government-owned company has taken 1188 applications from developers that cover a total of 75,000 lots across Australia. The first greenfields site to be hooked up to the NBN was Doonside in Western Sydney in September.
The developers of the Avalon Estate had been contacted for comment, but had not responded at the time of writing.