Copper switch-off looms

AS Minnamurra and Kiama Downs prepare to lose their copper network on May 23 in favour of the National Broadband Network, it remains unclear what will happen if residents are not connected in time.

While the first and second release sites faced 10-week waiting times for connections last August due to demand and infrastructure challenges, an NBN Co spokeswoman said it now stood at 15 business days, or three weeks.

"NBN Co is currently working through the options if there are premises that are not able to connect at [the] disconnection date," she said.

An NBN Co community relations team will be in the community from February 10 to provide residents with information about how to switch their landline telephone and internet services.

"We encourage local residents and businesses to contact their preferred telephone and [internet service provider] to connect to the NBN," the spokeswoman said.

Currently, 73 per cent of the premises in Minnamurra and Kiama Downs are connected, a 3 per cent increase on August figures.

The Kiama and Jamberoo second release site has not been issued with a copper switch-off date and will be unaffected by the changes at the first release site.

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Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis said NBN Co correspondence to her indicated some older homes might need to be rewired because of copper internal connections.

"Can you imagine the effect of having the old copper ripped out because the fibre goes to their doorstep?" she said.

"This is becoming quite a can of worms."

Meanwhile, fixed wireless facilities are expected to be switched on from the middle of next year.

NBN Co will lodge a planning proposal with Kiama Municipal Council to install the technology, but the exact coverage areas will be subject to talks with the council.

Spokesman Michael Tyler said the fixed-wireless service could bring access to better broadband to the bush.

"More farms, residents and businesses can look forward to having access to faster internet with the NBN expanding its broadband footprint in NSW's Illawarra region," he said.

Fixed wireless connections will offer download speeds of up to 25 megabits a second and upload speeds of up to five megabits a second.

However, Gerringong and Gerroa's future in the NBN rollout is no more certain after the April construction start date was removed from NBN Co's maps in November - the suburbs were originally listed for optical fibre connection.

Do you have to make the switch before May 23? What has your experience been like? Tell us by emailing