Underground cable installed on Tighes Hill footpath 'unprofessional': resident

Unfinished job: Tighes Hill resident Tim Wilkinson has been left with a trip hazard at his front gate after a contractor claiming to be working on behalf of the NBN failed to bury a cable a month ago.
Unfinished job: Tighes Hill resident Tim Wilkinson has been left with a trip hazard at his front gate after a contractor claiming to be working on behalf of the NBN failed to bury a cable a month ago.

A Tighes Hill man is decrying shoddy workmanship after a cable – which he believes is part of the National Broadband Network roll-out – was incorrectly installed above ground and left as a trip hazard at his front gate.

Tim Wilkinson said a tradie claiming to be installing NBN infrastructure left the cable exposed on the public footpath in Henry Street four weeks ago.

He has contacted the NBN several times since the cable was connected, between the node and the pit, on September 4. But a month later, Mr Wilkinson and his neighbour have been left with a trip hazard running across the front of their properties.

“It’s unprofessional work. The cable has been left on the footpath where it should be underground,” he said. 

“It’s unprofessional that anyone would leave the cable – national broadband infrastructure – on top of the footpath where it’s a trip hazard for me and my next door neighbour.

“The cable has been damaged because it runs across the driveway of my [neighbour’s home]. It’s been here a month now, complaints have been made to the NBN.”

The NBN could not confirm on Thursday whether the cable was its responsibility, but a spokesperson said the organisation was “investigating the matter”.

The thin cable runs about 30 metres along the public footpath in front of two homes on Henry Street.

The Herald understands that the NBN fibre cables are usually green and thicker than the cable that has appeared in Henry Street. But that doesn’t rule out the network’s involvement in the matter.

Mr Wilkinson sent three emails to the NBN in the past month to find out why the cable had been left above ground, but the only responses he had received were that the matter would be investigated.

He said two technicians had come to the street to look at the cable since he began asking questions of the NBN, but no fix appeared to be in sight.

“It’s [the NBN connection] all working – so this [cable] is actually live, it’s not just laying there waiting to be hooked up,” he said.

“My main concern is the unprofessionalism of a trades person or a technician to run a live cable on top of the footpath and not in the conduit underground.”

According to the NBN 2015/16 annual report, released late last month, connectivity to the high-speed broadband network almost doubled in the past financial year, with 5.7 million premises ready for service.

In that period, the NBN activation had grown by 122 per cent – to 2.4 million. According to the NBN’s online roll-out map, service is available in most parts of Newcastle, while the infrastructure build has begun in the remaining parts of the city.