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What to do when NBN comes to town: it’s the pits

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nbn_worker_roadsignWho would have thought boring telecommunications pits could attract so much media coverage. That’s the PR magic the NBN carries with it as it performs work on thousands on pits around the country.

Pit and trench work began in our suburb a couple of months ago. Since then we’ve seen new pits installed and old ones upgraded by contractors for both NBN Co and Telstra.

This post is timely as there is a lot hysteria about pits containing asbestos and how they are being handled by the contractors at the coalface. Thankfully, most of the pits in our area are either cast iron or PVC polymer. There are a few cement pits that, according to Telstra, might contain asbestos. The problem is not that they contain asbestos, but when they need to be worked on or removed there is the potential for asbestos fibres to be disturbed. Asbestos itself is a stable material, but when it is cut the loose fibres can be breathed in which can lead to cancer. If Telstra commits to removing the older pits in once piece (as opposed to smashing them to pieces) then it should be a safe transition for workers and residents.

All newly installed pits appear to be made from PVC with cement lids.

During the pit upgrade process there will be quite a lot of work done in your area, including digging and concrete cutting. I have overheard people complaining about NBN work, but in my experience it’s really not that disruptive. We even let a contractor park his mini excavator in our driveway for one night so he wouldn’t have to load it back on the truck and unload it again the next morning.

The contractors all seem to be friendly and in good spirits. Feel free to ask them about the progress and what any of the components will be used for.

The new Telstra pits have the unmistakeable Big T logo on them, but you may also find new pits plainly labeled “Communications” by NBN Co.

Once the pits have been upgraded the stage is set for the cable laying. Until next time.

What to do when the NBN comes to town blog series:

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