NBN: Concern over medical alarms as copper switch-off approaches

NBN Co launches register to track personal medical alarms that may be affected

NBN Co this morning launched a register to track personal medical alarms that may be affected by the switch-off of the copper network in areas where the National Broadband Network has been rolled out.

In late May the initial wave of switch off will take place, affecting some of the first areas to receive NBN fibre, including Armidale and Kiama ion NSW, Brunswick and South Morang in Victoria, Townsville in Queensland, Willunga/Aldinga in South Australia, and George Town, Kingston Beach, Deloraine, Sorrell, St Helens and Triabunna in Tasmania.

NBN Co's medical alarm register will be used to identify households that might need help to transition to the NBN.

"The most important thing for residents and businesses to know is that the move to the NBN is not automatic," the organisation's chief communications officer, John Simon, said.

"Residents and businesses relying on special equipment including medical and security alarms must contact their preferred service provider as soon as possible to make sure the device can continue to operate."

Advocacy groups and business leaders have previously raised concerns about the impending switch-off of the copper network, including uncertainty about which devices relied on the copper network to function and whether people are aware of the need to sign up for an NBN plan in order to obtain a fixed line phone service after the transition.

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO, Michael Bailey, told a hearing of the Senate inquiry into the NBN that delays in hooking up businesses in the state had made his organisation concerned about the switch-off deadline.

"[C]ertainly in some of our regional areas there is concern about copper being removed and what that will mean to [businesses'] access to things like security systems and faxes and so forth," he told the inquiry at a hearing in early February.

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