Channon residents plead for broadband

Residents of The Channon (l-r) Lee Duncan, Steve Payne, Martha Beasley and baby Billie and Denise Cox hand over a list with more than 150 names of villagers wanting broadband access to Telstra Countrywides commercial business manager, Daryl Rock.

University student and new mum Martha Beasley and her partner, magazine editor Steve Payne, are struggling to juggle their careers and look after their new-born baby Billie without broadband internet access at The Channon.

Filmmaker and licensed real estate agent, Denise Cox, has found the lack of a fast-connection internet in their village is hindering her home-based business.

But that may soon change if Telstra Countrywide accepts the villagers request to upgrade their exchange to enable access to high-speed broadband internet.

While Lismore and surrounding villages have had broadband access for some time, The Channon has been left behind.

Last Wednesday several residents from The Channon presented a list of 150 names to Telstra Countrywide in Lismore the minimum number needed before Telstra can consider upgrading an exchange. The list was collated by Martha, Denise and fellow resident Lee Duncan to prove there was sufficient demand.

Lee said there were many and varied reasons the village needed broadband including students studying externally, business contractors working from home and artists, writers or filmmakers needing to upload or download large graphic, text or video files.

Many websites now are designed for users with faster connections for those trying to access the internet with dial-up connections, usage has become blocked, restricted or painfully slow, she said.

Steve, who edits the quarterly magazine Organic Gardener for the ABC, said he had set up a home office at The Channon, but it wasnt feasible to do his job without broadband.

I really cant start out there because broadband is essential to edit magazines of this nature these days I cant operate effectively without it, he said. I want to be able to work from home and also look after the baby and by not having to drive to Lismore every day, we can save money and help the environment by not adding to greenhouse gases.

Telstra Countrywide regional manager Sue Passmore said Telstra was currently looking at upgrading the village exchange to enable broadband access and once the eligibility process for that upgrade had been finalised, it was hoped to have it up and running by early next year or before that.

I hope to have good news for The Channon within the next fortnight, she said.

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