Kiama Municipal Council has called on further contribution from the company overseeing the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) in order to increase the numbers of participants in the first trials of the network.
Speaking at a public enquiry into the role of the NBN, Kiama Council director of strategic and commercial services, Chris Quigley, said that while initial interaction between NBN Co and the council has been positive, there had been no follow-up communication in regards to usage since.
“I think in terms of reaching the community, no one point of contact can be the only point, some points may be better than others,” Quigley said.
“In our community - being as small as it is - the council, I think, is probably the major player in being able to disseminate information and assist others to disseminate information in that we’ve got the wealth to be able to do that and the contacts.”
However, according to Quigley, there are numerous groups of people within the community that council would encourage NBN Co to deal with directly in addition to using the council for a channel.
“We’re in discussion with NBN at the moment and from a council end we’ve suggested that it’s time for them to have another round of community consultation," he said.
“I alluded before that everything was put up front initially but I think they’re head down bottom up at the moment putting everything in and they probably need to start talking more about the opportunities.”
The council is in talks with NBN Co about offering more community engagement, Quigley said, part of which will include encouraging those who aren’t connected to come onboard and also to respond to community concerns.
“As installation goes forward there’s concerns about some visual impact, there’s been suggestion that it’s going to cost billions and billions of extra dollars because there’s six people looking down a hole but there’s a reason for that in that they’re trying new technology," he said.
“People in the community don’t understand that they just look down the street and see this bunch of people looking down a hole at these machines and everybody leaning on a shovel and think, ‘Oh it must be council’.”
Back in September, residents in the first NBN mainland release sites were given an extended timeframe to return consent forms allowing NBN Co to install fibre at their premises.
NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley, said in a statement at the time that response to the rollout had been positive, but the company was yet to receive the consent forms required to install the optical network terminal (ONT) and fibre cable to the premises.
As reported by Computerworld Australia, the first mainland NBN services recently went live with users in Armidale reporting operational fibre access to the $36 billion network.
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