New National Broadband Network team aims to tackle issues and provide help at a local level

Assistance: The National Broadband Network is launching a project designed to educate and deal with NBN problems at a local level.
Assistance: The National Broadband Network is launching a project designed to educate and deal with NBN problems at a local level.

A localised approach is being taken to problems and education around the National Broadband Network in the Hunter, NBN will announce today.

Newcastle and Lake Macquarie will soon have access to NBN Local, a team tasked with addressing concerns and educating Hunter residents about how to switch on to the federal government's high-speed broadband network.

"By having a greater presence in Newcastle, we’ll be able to work more collaboratively with the community in order to understand the complexities of the build and local telecommunications needs," NBN Local Newcastle team leader Amber Dornbusch said.

"With the rollout almost complete in Newcastle, it is more important than ever we continue to educate local communities on the status of the rollout, what they need to do to connect as well as how to resolve any issues.

"Although retail service providers should always be the first point of contact for any resident or business having issues with their broadband connection, the new NBN Local unit will be a dedicated team working with local stakeholders and community groups to help ensure local problems are identified early and addressed."

The program is being rolled-out nationally, featuring state-based teams which are then broken down into regional patches, with local managers able to access a large pool of resources for the communities they serve.

Like many parts of Australia, the Hunter has a history of well-documented complaints from customers who have faced a range of issues with the arrival of the NBN. Some have been left without internet for months while transitioning to the network, others have been unsatisfied with slower-than-expected download speeds, while there have also been numerous reports of unreliable connections.

Ms Dornbusch will work alongside engineers and specialists in key regional hubs around Australia. She said the NBN Local team’s focus was to “educate and empower”.

“We will spend time in communities to make sure they know what it is they need to do to make the switch and have all the information available to them so they can make the most of their connection,” she said.

“Each area has dedicated resources to make sure that they’re engaging with the community, to make sure that everyone has the information they need. 

“There’s … the NBN Local managers who’ll work with the local community for education, and then we also have NBN network engineers in the field that are constantly working on the network from a maintenance and operational perspective.”