A GRIFFITH Base Hospital doctor has slammed Telstra for “third world” internet infrastructure in Collina, saying remote villages in the Middle East had better coverage than the city’s premier housing estate.
Dr Alwand Sherif, who started at the hospital’s emergency department two weeks ago, was stunned to be told his Tucker Street, Collina home was unable to get ADSL broadband because there were no ports left at the Telstra exchange.
“Is this 21st century Australia? Last November I was in the Middle East and the internet services in remote towns were better than here,” Dr Sherif said.
“There are other doctors out here having the same issue and fast internet is extremely important for us to download books and stay up-to-date.
“I’ve rung Telstra four times and every time I call I get a different excuse.”
The issue of limited broadband connections in the suburb has spanned almost a decade and continues despite a number of infrastructure upgrades and numerous assurances from Telstra the capacity would be bolstered.
Dr Sherif was told a port could become available if a resident moved out but was warned he could be at the end of a long waiting list.
Other Collina residents are forced to endure the frustration of the wireless NextG network, which has only patchy coverage – especially in peak times – due to the suburb’s notoriously poor mobile reception.
Optus and other providers do not offer a fixed broadband service in the area.
Griffith IT expert Livio Mazzon said the limited broadband was “ridiculous” and made a mockery of the city’s quest to become a “smart community”.
“I bet Telstra are holding out for the NBN to arrive and not spending money on upgrades, but that could be years away,” Mr Mazzon said.
“They probably didn’t cable enough in Collina at the outset for the amount of growth that would happen.
“It does seem ridiculous – the newer areas should have the best available broadband.”
Telstra’s area general manager for ACT/southern NSW, Chris Taylor, said the company would review its coverage in Collina.
“My understanding is that this issue hasn’t been on the radar in the past and I have raised it with out network planners,” Mr Taylor said.
“We don’t have any more ADSL available in that area at the moment but we will continue to roll out more ports where we see enough demand.
“We’ve invested in three new technologies in Griffith in the last 12 months and we’re committed to servicing (the city).”