WE'RE GUINEA PIGS: Patricia Brown says little thought has been given to the NBN's effect on home security.
WE'RE GUINEA PIGS: Patricia Brown says little thought has been given to the NBN's effect on home security. Eliza Goetze

NBN says shop around for security providers

UPDATE: NBN Co has responded to a story in the NewsMail about problems with home security systems.

Many Bundaberg residents have been caught out after their security systems have proven incompatible with the NBN, and only learning this after the service has been rolled out to their homes.

West Bundaberg resident Patricia Brown sought compensation for having her security system replaced, which she said cost her $1894.

NBN has been proactively working with both the medical and security alarm industries since 2010 to prepare them for the NBN rollout  

"NBN has been proactively working with both the medical and security alarm industries since 2010 to prepare them for the NBN rollout," spokeswoman Kylie Lindsay said.

"Most security alarm providers now have solutions in place, which in many cases is a relatively inexpensive converter box for the alarm that allows it to dial out over the mobile network instead of the landline network.

"If you are unsatisfied with your alarm provider's response you should shop around for a better deal as it is a highly competitive industry."

Security Enterprises' Dale Thomas said 3G alarm communicators could "eliminate the problems created by the NBN" by allowing the system to operate on the 3G network, rather than relying on the NBN, which operates on grid power and would therefore be unreliable in a blackout.

Mr Thomas said the 3G GPRS modules he sells cost around $360.  

 

 

EARLIER: PATRICIA Brown is "quite cheesed off".

That is an understatement for the Bundaberg businesswoman, who says the NBN cost her nearly $1,900 to replace her home security system when she discovered it was incompatible.

"I had a security system put in two years ago by Security Enterprises," she said.

The modem came without a backup battery required to run her home security system. When Ms Brown called out her security consultant, Dale Thomas, he discovered the NBN was not compatible.

"It cost me $189 to buy a backup battery, $110 for Dale to come out and assess it, and I've had to replace the security system," she said.

"It has come to $1894."

She also lost the use of her landline phone for nearly three weeks, costing her business Patricia Brown Cleaning Services.

"I make a lot of calls on my mobile, but some people don't like calling mobiles and I get a lot of older people calling my home phone," she said.

"I've had people say, 'Don't you have a phone anymore?'"

Ms Brown says the people of Bundaberg, as the first site of the NBN rollout, have been treated "like guinea pigs".

"I'm not happy and I would dearly like to know how I can be reimbursed - but whose door do I knock on?"

Systems like Patricia's use a remote dialler, which plugs into a land line. Remote dialler systems are not compatible with the NBN, explained Dale Thomas, who has been inundated with calls from customers facing the same problem.

"The other thing that lets the NBN down is if the power goes out," Mr Thomas said. "Without power, the system can't send any signal. Landlines have their own power."

It is a risk not only to security systems but medical alarm systems, he said.

The most popular solution is 3G GPRS module, which can be fitted to any alarm system. "It replaces your phone line and the alarm system dials out through this device over the 3G network," Mr Thomas said.

SOLUTION: Dale Thomas from Security Enterprises with a GPRS modem, which have proven popular as many people find their security systems are not compatible with the NBN.
SOLUTION: Dale Thomas from Security Enterprises with a GPRS modem, which have proven popular as many people find their security systems are not compatible with the NBN. Eliza Goetze

Security Enterprises has installed around 120 in Bundaberg, 15 since the start of this year.

"It seems Telstra and the NBN Co are not talking to each other," Mr Thomas said. "No one has sat down and said, 'How will this work?'"

The NewsMail contacted NBN Co late today.



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