CHECK THE TECH: NBN Co says it is essential people find out if their device or service will work on the new broadband network.
CHECK THE TECH: NBN Co says it is essential people find out if their device or service will work on the new broadband network.

Switching emergency, medical alarms to NBN declared 'vital'

OLDER Ipswich residents who rely on a phone line for personal medical alarms and connectivity are being urged to shift to the National Broadband Network before existing copper is switched off.

As the NBN rollout continues across Ipswich, automatic dialling alarms or other devices connected to traditional phone lines may become redundant.

The traditional copper network is switched off about 18 months after the NBN is connected to a suburb, potentially leaving older residents without vital alarms and auto-dialling machines.

A spokeswoman for NBN Co said some existing emergency devices may not be compatible with new network technology.

"It's vital that you talk to your device provider for advice, and to find out if your device or service will work on the NBN access network, or what alternatives may be available," she said.

In what could create a dangerous situation, equipment connected to the NBN network will not work during a power blackout.

Ipswich and surrounding suburbs will get a mix of fibre-to-the-premises and fibre-to-the-node broadband.

People with fibre-to-the-premises could fit a battery backup to ensure connected corded phones and devices can operate during the loss of power.

But for residents with the NBN's fibre-to-the-node technology, landline phone and internet services will not work during a power outage and no backup battery is available.

The NBN Co recommends residents "should consider keeping a charged mobile phone in case there is a power outage of any sort".

While NBN Co moves to ensure older people remain connected, Labor's Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann said residents in the Ipswich region were "fed-up" with the Coalition's NBN.

Fibre direct to the premises is faster but more costly than fibre-to-the-node, which uses the existing copper network to complete the connection to a premises.

"Labor had a fibre-to-the-premises plan for Ipswich and the Somerset region, but instead they've received a dud fibre-to-the-node network with connection issues," he said.

"People are considering moving their home or business; it's impacting their lives.

"Poor quality broadband under Mr Turnbull is holding our region back."

By stopping the rollout of full fibre across the region, Mr Neumann argues the government has condemned Australia to poor speeds on a global stage.

"The upload and download speeds of Mr Turnbull's NBN are not what was promised, and after repeated cost and time blowouts, the HFC rollout has been brought to a halt because the technology still does not work reliably," he said.

"Labor has always maintained that the NBN should be done once, done right, and done with fibre."