Small businesses say switch to NBN is proving costly
SOUTH Burnett business leaders are voicing their frustration with the transition to NBN in the region.
According to some small businesses, it is costing them valuable time and money.
Kingaroy Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Rob Fitz-Herbert encouraged people to make their voices heard on this issue.
During the recent monthly chamber meeting held at Kingaroy recruitment agency, APM, Mr Fitz-Herbert addressed the small business crowd.
"We are finding more and more people are having challenges in this space,” he said.
The chamber president said he knew of businesses in the region that were experiencing upwards of eight-week delays.
"It hinders business, it hinders education, it hinders progress,” he said.
Mr Fitz-Herbert encouraged businesses that had been affected by the NBN transition to speak up on the matter.
"Rural Queensland I think deserves a better deal in this space,” he said.
"I think we need to keep talking about it and not be quiet because it is very very tough to do business if you are not connected.”
One business owner who has experienced the NBN teething problems first-hand is Ollie's Mowers owner, Brett Irwin.
The Markwell St business decided to make the switch to the NBN late last year.
"We've got three lines here and a home office line,” Mr Irwin said.
But he said after dealing with constant issues for more than six months, the business was only connected recently.
"They disconnected the phone line here,” he said.
"They managed to get them back up, but that only lasted about a week.
"We had to purchase three mobiles so we could ring out.
"We went seven-and-a-half weeks without a main line.”
Even with all the headaches his team has experienced, Mr Irwin believes his business was one of the lucky ones.
"We are being reimbursed for the diversion fees and out-of-pocket costs,” he said.
But as a business owner with his wife, Jacqui, he said you could not put a price on the amount of time spent on the phone trying to get the problem fixed.
"Jacqui would have spent 30 hours on the telephone,” he said.
"It's just frustrating.”
Mr Irwin believed there was a lot of work to be done to streamline the NBN process.
"The problem is the system,” he said.
"The biggest issue is, it's all off-shore.
"It just takes so long for anything to happen.”
Mr Irwin advised any business that was looking to make the switch to the NBN to hold off for as long as they could.
"There is such a backlog,” he said.