Prince Henry telecoms
This special page has been created because of the ongoing issues with Pivit, and concerns for the future security and effectiveness of Prince Henry's telecoms.
As you'll see, there’s a long list of telecoms ‘issues’ frustrating Prince Henry residents. The Community Association, together with its managing agent, is doing its very best to achieve a good outcome for Prince Henry residents now and into the future.
Regular updates will be published as information comes to hand.
If you have knowledge and / or experience to share on telecoms issues, please provide details using the feedback form below.
- Summary of facts and action taken to resolve Prince Henry Telecoms issues
- Uniti Group emails re transfer to Fast Data Communications | 5 July 2020
- Telecoms update — Termination of Network Management Services Agreement | 4 July 2020
- Telecoms update — RSP choice | 17 April 2020
- Telecoms update | 14 April 2020
- Telecoms update | December 2019
- Landcom update | October 2019
- Telstra mobile phone tower installation | Scheduled for early 2020
- Action Plan Update | September 2019
- NBN Co to begin formal site survey | Meeting with John Brogden | 16 September
- Information Session Update and Ongoing Action Plan | 5 September
- Prince Henry Telecoms Information Session | 14 August 2019
- Landcom and CA Emails re LBNCo and Pivit | June/July 2019
- Negotiations with Landcom re Pivit's desire to exit Prince Henry | Update July 2019
- Telstra's proposal to install mobile phone towers on the roof of Moran at Little Bay — Update | June 2019
- Negotiations with Landcom and Pivit re Pivit's desire to assign its responsibilities for Prince Henry telecommunications to a new service provider | November 2018 to March 2019
- Internet and fixed telephone services | Outages
- Telstra's proposal to install mobile phone towers on the roof of Moran at Little Bay
- Response received from Andrew Penn, CEO, Telstra | September 2017
- Response received from Mitch Fifield's office | September 2017
- Meeting with Matt Thistlethwaite | 27 July 2017
- Response from Mitch Fifield's office | April 2017
- Letter to Mitch Fifield regarding lack of choice for many Prince Henry residents | February 2017
- Unredacted Network Management Services Agreement received | January 2017
- Web feedback submission re Pivit | November 2016
- Telstra's HFC Network update | October 2016
- Legal letter sent to Urban Growth requesting an unredacted copy of the NMSA | October 2016
- Telstra | Proposal to extend HFC Network to Prince Henry at Little Bay | August 2016
- Urban Growth responds to CA's legal letter dated 10 June 2016 | 29 July 2016
- Legal letter sent to Urban Growth following meeting with lawyer | 10 June 2016
- Lawyer appointed to provide advice | 29 April 2016
- Copy of missing Schedule 9, Minimum Operator Service Levels, received | 7 April 2016
- Network Management Services Agreement received | 17 March 2016
- Response to the CA's GIPA submission | January 2016
- Very slow internet | December 2015
- Pivit | Foxtel | Urban Growth | Prince Henry CA | 14 December 2015
- Meetings with our state and federal parliament local members | December 2015
- Pivit and Foxtel | August 2015
- Feed back form
- 22 June 2020 | Email received from Uniti Group:
This email is to advise that Uniti Group Limited trading as ‘Uniti’ has transferred your existing services to Fast Data Communications Pty Limited trading as ‘Uniti’. The will be no change to your services and no action required
- 22 June 2020 | Email received from Fast Data Communications:
This email is to advise that Fast Data Communications Pty Limited trading as Fast Data Communications has received your services from Uniti Group Limited trading as Uniti. The will be no change to your services and no action required.
- 24 June 2020 | Emailed questions to Uniti Support:
- Who or what is Fast Data Communications Pty Limited? Full details of the company and its credentials please.
- Uniti’s relationship with Fast Data Communications?
- Why was this action carried out without consulting with us or obtaining our permission for the transfer?
- Is our privacy protected with this company who no-one seems to have heard of?
- Other relevant information that should have been provided before any action was contemplated
- 25 June 2020 | Email response from Uniti Support:
A disappointing end to the Prince Henry telecoms saga. As you'll see in the summary of recent correspondence below, over the years, the CA Executive Committee has tried very hard to get Landcom to act in accordance with its responsibilities as Principle in the Network Management Services Agreement (NMSA). Sadly, that didn't always happen.
It's important for all Prince Henry residents to know that telecoms service concerns are now the responsibility of the user — if necessary, via relevant federal or state government departments.
If you are an owner or an owner's representative and would like to view the correspondence in full, please contact your managing agent (if you have one) or Change Strata Management.
Summary of recent correspondence
- 7 April 2020 | Letter from Landcom to the CA advising:
- Landcom considered Pivit's actions to be a breach of the Network Management Services Agreement (NMSA) and possibly also a breach of their carrier licence.
- Landcom did not intend to pursue Pivit through the court process.
- Landcom offered to assign the NMSA to the CA as, in their view, the CA would be in a stronger position to enforce their rights under the NMSA in the courts.
- A CA decision on this offer was requested within seven days.
- Unless the CA confirmed they wished to accept Landcom's offer to assign the NMSA, Landcom would commence the legal dissolution of its contractual relationship through termination of the NMSA.
- 14 April 2020 | Letter from the CA to Landcom responding to Landcom's letter dated 7 April 2020 outlining:
- Key issues relating to the relatively lengthy CA process required to reach a decision on the proposal for Landcom to assign the NMSA to the CA.
- The need for all lot owners to consider the proposal at a General Meeting, and that should owners agree to the proposal, the CA and lot owners would be accepting significant operational and financial risk.
- The time required to prepare for and convene a General Meeting, which could take place only when the current COVID-19 restrictions had been eased.
- Background on Prince Henry telecoms events since November 2018, including multiple meetings, discussions and exchanges.
- A proposal to work with Landcom to prepare an Options Paper to be presented at a CA General Meeting.
- The CA's disappointment that Landcom was considering terminating the NMSA at such short notice, and without having taken appropriate action in relations to Pivit's breaches.
- 16 April 2020 | Letter from Landcom to CA responding to the CA's letter dated 14 April 2020 advising:
- More time for the CA to make a decision — an extension to 15 May 2020.
- Landcom could not provide legal or financial advice as to the CA's options under the NMSA and that it would not be appropriated for Landcom to be involved in the preparation of an Options Paper for Prince Henry owners.
- 5 May 2020 | Letter from the CA to Landcom responding to Landcom's letter dated 16 April 2020 advising:
- The CA Executive Committee had considered the proposal's merits and determined to reject the NMSA assignment in the best interests of Prince Henry owners and residents.
- The CA would advise all Prince Henry owners of the decision (directly or via subsidiary schemes), and would emphasise that future telecoms service concerns would be the responsibility of the user — if necessary, via relevant federal or state government departments.
An LBNCo letterbox drop in mid-April informed Prince Henry residents that they now have a choice of retail service providers. As a result, it would appear that residents can choose an alternative RSP from the list provided by LBNCo should they so desire, which means there is no longer a monopoly wholesale/retail provider at Prince Henry.
In late March 2020, Pivit made a surprise announcement that it would no longer provide residential telecommunications services to residents at Prince Henry at Little Bay. Pivit advised that it had partnered with Uniti, which would take over the provisioning of Internet and phone services from 1 April 2020.
As Uniti Wireless owns Prince Henry's sole wholesale provider, LBNCo, it seems that Prince Henry residents have in essence moved from one monopoly, with Pivit as wholesale and retail provider and no choice, via an agreement with Landcom (the Network Management Services Agreement), to an alternative monopoly with no agreement and no choice. The term 'from frying pan to fire' comes to mind.
Another surprise is the much lauded broad choice of RSPs promoted heavily by both LBNCo and Pivit has not been mentioned. Wonder why?
The CA Executive Committee has been liaising with Landcom for many months to resolve the complex telecoms situation at Prince Henry. Progress has been minimal so far. Developments will be posted on this webpage as they occur.
Much has occurred since the October 2019 update. However, links to documents sent and received will no longer be provided, as extracts from documents may be used out of context and mislead the reader. If you're a lot owner, an owner's representative, or a managing agent, and wish to view any of the documentation mentioned in this post, or find out more, please contact Kathyrn Milne at Change Strata Management.
Meeting with Landcom, NBN Co, Prince Henry Community Association | 18 November
On 18 November 2019 Landcom hosted a meeting in their city office to discuss the status of negotiations with NBN Co. The main purpose of the meeting was for representatives from the Prince Henry Community Association to meet with NBN Co — a meeting the CA has been requesting for many months. However, on arriving at the meeting, the CA was advised that the representative from NBN Co would be available by phone-in and not in person as expected.
Present at the meeting were:
- Tasha Burrell, Executive General Manager Project
- Sandra Lee, Executive General Manager, Legal and Compliance (Phone in)
- Greg Betts, Development Director
- Thomas Giannatti, Assistant Development Director
- Helmut Seidensticker, National Manager Senior Escalations - Customer Advocacy & Resolution - Customer Service & Assurance (Phone in)
Prince Henry Community Association:
- Ken Barker, Executive Committee Treasurer
- Susan Graham, Executive Committee Chair
Meeting with Landcom, Matt Thistlethwaite, Michael Daley, Prince Henry Community Association | 19 November
On 19 November 2019 Michael Daley hosted a meeting at Parliament House in Macquarie Street, Sydney, to support the CA and discuss further Landcom's strategy to ensure Prince Henry telecoms are future proof.
Present at the meeting were:
- John Brogden, Chief Executive Officer
- Tasha Burrell, Executive General Manager Project
- Sandra Lee, Executive General Manager, Legal and Compliance
- Michael Daley, State Member for Maroubra
- Matt Thistlethwaite, Federal Member for Kingsford Smith
- Cr Dylan Parker, Randwick City Council and Michael Daley's office
- Leigh Heaney, Adviser Federal Government, Matt Thistlethwaite's office
Prince Henry Community Association:
- Ken Barker, Executive Committee Treasurer
- Susan Graham, Executive Committee Chair
Meeting NBN Co, Prince Henry Community Association | 13 December
Following a number of phone calls and emails, a meeting was convened at Prince Henry on 13 December 2019 for representatives of the CA to meet with Helmuth Seidensticker to discuss finer points of NBN Co's decision-making process and to determine a way forward. Mr Seidensticker was very helpful, offered to help more wherever possible, and promised to keep in touch.
Present at the meeting were:
- Helmut Seidensticker, National Manager Senior Escalations - Customer Advocacy & Resolution - Customer Service & Assurance (Phone in)
Prince Henry Community Association:
- Ken Barker, Executive Committee Treasurer
- Susan Graham, Executive Committee Chair
Letter from Landcom to the Hon Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts | 19 December
As agreed at the meeting on 19 November, on 19 December Landcom wrote to the Hon Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts on behalf of the CA. A copy of that letter was emailed to Matt Thistlethwaite and the CA. Matt Thistlethwaite has also undertaken to write to the Hon Paul Fletcher on behalf of the CA.
- On 24 September, Landcom met with Pivit and LBNCo to understand what arrangement exists between the two parties. Pivit and LBNCo confirmed they have signed a Wholesale Access agreement under which Pivit can retail on LBNCo’s networks in Qld and NSW. LBNCo intends to utilise Pivit’s infrastructure where possible and install new infrastructure where required. This ultimately means that Pivit intends to use LBNCo’s Prince Henry network to access retail customers where it can. Lawyer, Maddocks, is investigating the validity of this approach with reference to the Prince Henry Network Management Services Agreement.
- Landcom is investigating options with Pivit and LBNCo to facilitate a pathway for an alternate carrier such as NBNCo to enter Prince Henry who may offer residents greater choice.
- NBNCo has completed its recent detailed site survey.
- NBNCo has advised Landcom verbally, that following finalisation of a Business Case and Executive review, it will be in a position to advise the CA of its intent with Prince Henry in the next month.
- In response to the CA's request:
'With Landcom’s clear responsibility to Prince Henry residents per the Network Management Services Agreement, the CA strongly requests Landcom to provide some immediate protection, guidance and advice in relation to dealing with this burgeoning problem. Is Landcom able to provide guidance to the CA as to how to advise subsidiary schemes and individual owners? Ideally a written advice from Landcom to all Prince Henry residents would be the best approach, and may instil a level of confidence that an appropriate outcome will be achieved in a reasonable timeframe.'
'Landcom is unfortunately not in a position to provide guidance to the CA as to how to advise subsidiary schemes and individual owners. However, you may wish to seek separate advice on the matter, including advice on the validity of the Land Access and Activity Notices issued by LBNCo to the subsidiary schemes.'
- Landcom's CEO is regularly briefed on this matter and is supportive of Landcom’s efforts to facilitate NBNCo’s access where within Landcom's capacity.
- Landcom is doing everything it can with urgency to expedite a resolution.
- Landcom intends to keep the CA informed as and when there is new information to share, and appreciates the frustration experienced by the community, especially given that this is a very complicated issue with a long history.
- 10 September 2019 | CA received email from Minister Fletcher's office advising unavailability of the minister to meet with the EC.
- 11 September 2019 | Matt Thistlethwaite wrote to Minister Paul Fletcher respectfully requesting that he considers the CA's requests.
- 24 September 2019 | CA received a disappointing response from the Department of Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts to the CA's letter dated 29 August 2019.
- 19 November 2019 | Meeting confirmed with John Brogden, CEO Landcom, Michael Daley, State Member for Maroubra, Matt Thistlethwait, Federal Member for Kingsford Smith and CA EC Members, Susan Graham, Chair, and Ken Barker, Treasurer.
NBN Co site survey
Following extensive negotiations between NBN Co and Landcom, NBN Co will be conducting formal site surveys at Prince Henry. The surveys will include all street (external) and internal multi-dwelling units infrastructure, with works to begin the week commencing Monday 16 September. These extensive works are expected to take place over the next three weeks, so Prince Henry residents can expect to see NBN Co teams on site during this period.
The formal survey works will enable NBN Co to understand the full extent of the works required to build a network at Prince Henry. NBN Co and Landcom expect to meet again around the end of October with to discuss the next steps.
The CA Executive Committee is cautiously optimistic that this move means that NBN Co is serious in it efforts to find a solution to the complex Prince Henry telecoms issues. Updates will be provided as and when they become available.
Meeting with John Brogden, Landcom CEO
On behalf of the CA Executive Committee, Michael Daley, State Member for Maroubra has kindly arranged a meeting with John Brogden and EC Members to discuss the pressing telecoms issues being experienced by Prince Henry residents. A date has yet to be confirmed but is expected to be in November. Having to wait so long for a meeting is disappointing, however, the EC will outline its concerns in writing and email to John Brogden, cc to Michael Daley, well in advance of the meeting. The letter to John Brogden will also be published on this website.
Trying to find a telecoms solution at Prince Henry has taken far longer and been more complex than the CA and Landcom had expected. Both Landcom and the CA continue to work together as well as individually to explore the various options.
Landcom attended an Information Session for Prince Henry owners and residents on 14 August, answering pre-submitted questions as best they could and fielding additional questions from the floor. As a result of additional questions and requests from the audience, Landcom undertook to provide more information after the session. The CA has followed up with Landcom to obtain this information but has yet to receive it.
On the bright side, an NBN Co team visited Prince Henry on 4 September to begin a complete site survey. The site survey will provide accurate information required for NBN Co to cost the works and complete a feasibility report/business plan for extending the NBN to Prince Henry. NBN Co advised that the survey would likely take a week, with a report completed two weeks later.
In the meantime, the CA will continue working with Landcom and NBN Co, as well as continuing to implement its action plan.
The following documents will bring you up to date with Landcom’s, the CA’s and various strata schemes’ efforts to manage the current impasse:
- Pre-submitted questions and responses overview spreadsheet
- Information Session 14 August 2019 Overview
- CA Action Plan Update
- Letter to Paul Fletcher dated 29 August 2019
- Background and history for Paul Fletcher
- Image illustrating NBN Co’s rollout in Little Bay (Prince Henry is the small blue area labelled ‘Other fibre provider’)
- Letter from Harper to LBN Co objecting to access
- Letter from Vinosa to LBN Co objecting to access
At the Information Session, Landcom suggested that contacting our politicians may be an option for anyone unhappy with the current telecoms situation at Prince Henry. As you’ll see in the CA Action Plan Update attached, the CA has already made contact and/or met with Paul Fletcher, Matt Thistlethwaite and Michael Daley.
Listed below are the contact details you’ll need should you have personal concerns regarding the lack of choice and provision of telecoms services here at Prince Henry. You could consider cherry picking from the CA’s letter and attachments to Paul Fletcher:
Rob Stokes MP, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces
T: 02 9999 3599
A: 1725 Pittwater Road, Mona Vale, NSW 2103 | GPO Box 534, Sydney NSW 2001
Matt Thistlethwaite MP, Federal Member for Kingsford Smith
T: 02 9349 6007
A: Shop 6, 205 Maroubra Road, Maroubra, NSW 2035 | PO Box 895, Maroubra, NSW 2035
Michael Daley MP, State Member for Maroubra
T: 02 9349 6440
A: Level 5, 806 Anzac Parade, Maroubra NSW 2035 | PO Box 535, Maroubra NSW 2035
For further updates, please check this web page from time to time.
Trying to find a telecoms solution at Prince Henry has taken far longer and been more complex than the CA and Landcom had expected. While there's not yet a definitive solution, both Landcom and the CA are working hard to explore the various options.
Landcom attended an information session for Prince Henry owners and residents on 14 August, answering pre-submitted questions as best they could and fielding additional questions from the floor. As a result of additional questions and requests from the audience, Landcom undertook to provide more information after the session.
In addition, the CA EC undertook to provide a high level overview of the discussions that took place during the session. Due to sickness at both the CA's managing agent's office and also within the EC, the delivery of this information is taking longer than had been hoped.
As soon as information becomes available, the CA's managing agent will email all those who registered for the information session as well as managing agents, owners and owners representatives.
In the meantime, the CA EC has established an action plan which it will work on in tandem with Landcom's strategy. The EC action plan will be included in the information provided to all those who registered for the information session as well as managing agents, owners and owners representatives.
In case you missed them, the following emails provide more information on recent developments — particularly important are the unauthorised contact made by LBNCo to various strata schemes and to Lend Lease (Little Bay Apartments), as well as subsequent unauthorised works being carried out:
- 11 June 2019 | Landcom offers to address the CA Executive Committee at its meeting on 13 August | Subsequent to this email, Landcom and the CA agreed that an information session for all owners, owners representatives and residents would be held on 7 August 2019. And more recently, the date was changed to 14 August 2019 — refer details above.
- 4 July 2019 | Change Strata Management email to all managing agents, owners, and owners representatives advising them that LBNCo had made direct approaches to a number of strata schemes and to Lend Lease, and urging them not to engage with either LBNCo or Pivit.
- 11 July 2019 | Landcom details its actions following receipt of advice that LBNCo had made direct approaches to a number of strata schemes and to Lend Lease (Little Bay Apartments).
Following a firm recommendation from the CA lawyer, Adrian Mueller, Brendan Coady, Sector Leader, Maddocks Lawyers was appointed in early April to represent the CA in negotiations with Landcom.
The desired outcome is to achieve telecommunications services for Prince Henry owners and residents in line with services available to the rest of Australia, including choice of RSP (eg: Telstra, Optus, TPG, iiNet, etc.).
A budget of $20,000 for legal fees to address these issues was approved at the AGM in early April, and the CA is doing its very best to ensure that amount is not exceeded. The CA has also written to Landcom explaining the conundrum it faces in explaining to owners the need for additional levies to cover legal fees to ensure the long-term security of these essential services. View letter to Landcom.
Over the past few months, Landcom has been working closely and tirelessly with the CA to achieve the best telecommunications option for Prince Henry owners and residents. There are two options available:
- NBN Co agrees to extend its network to Prince Henry
- Prince Henry retains its private network, the CA becomes a party to a contract with another monopoly wholesale provider*, albeit one that states its services are available through a variety of RSPs, and signs up to a potential 15 year contract with a new provider, who will own the infrastructure.
* Note: Landcom made it very clear in its letter dated 13 March 2019 that its preferred position would be for the CA to enter into an agreement with the new provider. However, since that time, Landcom and the CA have been working together to achieve the best outcome available for Prince Henry owners and residents.
Both Landcom and the CA agree that the best outcome for Prince Henry now and into the future would be option 1: NBN Co agrees to extend its network to Prince Henry.
Regrettably, the recent caretaker period and general election have slowed progress somewhat. NBN Co is undergoing a restructure and has new priorities, such as ensuring connections to existing built-up areas (Brownfield) are completed by the end of 2020. Prince Henry is described as a new development (Greenfield).
As you may know, Prince Henry was granted an 'adequately served' status in the early days of the NBN, which meant NBN Co would not extend its network to such an area. Because Prince Henry's 'adequately served' status was the result of a federal government policy, it will be necessary for Paul Fletcher, the newly appointed Federal Communications Minister, to sign off on an 'overbuild' by NBN Co. In addition, Mathias Cormann, the Federal Minister for Finance, will also be required to approve the overbuild. It's interesting to note that providers can no longer apply for 'adequately served' status. This means that 'adequately served' is no longer policy. What does that mean for Prince Henry? That's anyone's guess.
The good news is that Landcom has agreed to attend an information session in early August for Prince Henry owners and owners' representatives. Refer email received from Maureen Wade, Landcom's Manager - Infrastructure and Innovation.
Since lot owner attendance at such events is hard to predict, the CA's managing agent will distribute an information sheet by mid-July requesting owners and owners' representatives to express their interest in attending such a session (to determine numbers for both viability and venue), as well as requesting questions be submitted in writing in advance.
In the meantime, the CA continues to liaise with Landcom and hopes that, by August, there'll be some positive news to report.
Telstra's proposal to install mobile phone towers on the roof of Moran at Little Bay | Update June 2019
DA/239/2018A was lodged with Council and approved in October 2018. Since then, the CA has followed up with Mark Moran at Little Bay from time to time regarding installation of the structures. Robin Mbae, Building Manager of Mark Moran at Little Bay, advised the EC meeting on 11 June 2019 that Telstra had yet to confirm the scheduled date for works to install the structures. As the commercial arrangement is between Telstra and Mark Moran at Little Bay, the CA will follow up from time to time and post updates on this website.
Negotiations with Landcom and Pivit re Pivit's desire to assign its responsibilities for Prince Henry telecommunications to a new service provider | November 2018 to March 2019
Pivit advised the Community Association (CA) in the latter part of 2018 that it had been discussing with LBNCo the potential for that company to replace Pivit as the provider of telecommunications services at Prince Henry at Little Bay.
Services currently provided are:
- Broadband internet
- Fixed line telephones
- Free to air television
- Pay television via Foxtel
The course of action since the CA received that advice follows:
- 29 November 2018 | Informal meeting with Pivit, LBNCo and the CA Executive Committee
- 21 December 2018 | Letter received by the CA from Landcom
- 3 January 2019 | CA response to Landcom
- 29 January 2019 | Formal meeting with Landcom and the CA Executive Committee (lawyers present)
- 20 February 2019 | Formal proposal received from Pivit
- 1 March 2019 | CA letter to Landcom detailing deficiencies in Pivit's formal proposal
- 1 March 2019 | CA email to Pivit advising that the proposal was unacceptable to the CA, the CA was consulting with Landcom and its legal team, and the CA's legal team would respond to the proposal in due course.
- 13 March 2019 | Letter from Landcom advising it has no ongoing obligations to Prince Henry in respect of telecommunications services and that its preferred position would be for the CA to enter into an agreement with the new provider.
- 22 March 2019 | EC meeting with Maddocks lawyer Brendan Coady, Sector Leader Technology, to determine a strategy to manage the transition.
- There are two parties involved in the Network Management Services Agreement covering telecommunications services to residents of Prince Henry at Little Bay — Landcom, the Principal, and Pivit, the Operator. The CA is not a party to the agreement.
- Landcom is well aware how critical these services are to each and every Prince Henry resident, and is consulting openly and regularly with the CA on the proposed changes.
- The CA will not make any decisions until proposed changes, be it the operator or the type/level of service, has been cleared by its legal team, and presented to all Prince Henry lot owners at a Special General Meeting.
Following several outages over the past few months, an outage of internet and fixed telephone services at Prince Henry for an extended period commencing in the early afternoon of 13 December, seemed to have been network-wide. As has predominantly been the case with unplanned outages in the past, there was no timely notification to users either directly or via the Pivit website. There was a recorded message which could be accessed by calling Pivit to log a service fault.
As is typical in such instances, many users took to social media to voice their dissatisfaction, with comments often reflective of newer residents/tenants who are understandably unfamiliar with the Pivit/Landcom contract and history at Prince Henry. Longer–term residents were more likely less vocal, but equally unhappy. As a consequence, the CA Executive Committee has instructed the CA's managing agent to draft a letter of concern to Pivit. When finalised, a copy of the letter will be sent to Urban Growth (formerly Landcom), which is party to the Network Management Services Agreement.
On 20 March 2018 the CA's managing agent emailed all Prince Henry lot owners and their representatives with details of Telstra's proposal to install equipment on the roof of the Moran at Little Bay building, and asking for feedback on the proposal.
Telstra has advised that, should the proposal be approved and proceed per their plans, mobile phone reception for Telstra users at Prince Henry will be significantly improved.
The Community Association appointed an independent consultant to review Telstra's proposal. Following consultation, Telstra amended its proposal to minimise the visual impact from street level and from neighbouring properties within the Community Association.
Having received a letter of recommendation from its consultant, the CA undertook not to object to the proposal subject to:
- Feedback from Prince Henry lot owners and their representatives being carefully considered
- Heritage Council approval being granted in writing
- Randwick City Council ensuring that the intentions of the Prince Henry Master Plan, Design Guidelines, and the DCP are considered before Council approval to proceed is granted.
Andrew Penn's response is a detailed and respectful explanation of why Telstra will not provide its services to most Prince Henry residents. In a nutshell, Telstra has chosen not to enter into commercial arrangements with Pivit and is unlikey to build its own network to duplicate infrastructure in an estate that the Minister has determined to be 'adequately served'. Read Andrew Penn's letter.
Another disappointing and incomplete response from the Department of Communications. Read the letter.
Local MP Matt Thistlethwaite has kindly offered to make representations to Senator Fifield on behalf of Prince Henry residents. The CA is hoping he'll have better luck than it has had so far, and will continue to pursue this issue.
Read the letters to the CEOs of Telstra, Optus and TPG requesting a formal response to the CA's request that each of them considers taking customers on at a retail level in the Prince Henry area, as it does in other parts of Little Bay and neighbouring suburbs:
On 27 July, the CA Executive met with Matt Thistlethwaite and his team to discuss the prevailing telecoms issues at Prince Henry. The main issue being lack of choice for many Prince Henry residents. Matt suggested the CA should write formally to the CEOs of the major providers, being Telstra, Optus and TPG.
The aim of writing to the CEOs was twofold: (i) to encourage each of them to try harder to provide an alternative service, and (ii) to obtain a formal refusal from each of them which can be used in further negotiations with Mitch Fifield's office. Matt's team kindly provided some words which the CA was able to adapt for use in those letters. A big thanks to Matt and his team for their time and assistance.
In April 2017 the CA received a rather disappointing response from Mitch Fifield's office (the Australian Government Department of Communications and the Arts). The CA EC will determine its next course of action over the coming weeks. Read the response from Mitch Fifield's office.
Have your say
In the meantime, if you have personal concerns regarding the lack of choice here at Prince Henry you could consider writing to the Minister, cc to our local federal MP Matt Thistlethwaite, the Community Association and possibly also the Telecoms Industry Ombudsman (TIO), cc Matt Thistlethwaite and the Community Association. Details as follows:
- Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications and the Arts
T: 1800 254 649
Email format: email@example.com
- Matt Thistlethwaite, Federal Member for Kingsford Smith
T: 02 9349 6007 E: Matt.Thistlethwaite.MP@aph.gov.au
- Telecoms Industry Ombudsman (TIO)
T: 1800 062 058
E: firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete the Consumer complaint form
- Prince Henry Community Association
Managing agent, Dynamic Property Services
IMPORTANT NOTE: Don't forget to cc the Community Association so that your feed back can be factored into the CA's future submissions to the minister.
In February 2017, the EC instructed Dynamic to write to Senator Mitch Fifield, the Federal Minister for Communications, seeking guidance, clarification and assistance in regard to obtaining fair and equitable access to competitive telephone and internet services for all Prince Henry residents. The letter was CCd to Matt Thistlethwaite, Federal Member for Kingsford Smith, requesting support and action on our behalf. Read the letter.
After a long delay, in January 2017, Urban Growth finally provided an unredacted copy of the Network Management Services Agreement on a strictly confidential basis. This means that the CA is not permitted to disclose to any third party the content without first obtaining Urban Growth’s prior written consent to any proposed disclosure. Therefore, we cannot publish a copy of the unredacted NMSA on the website.
It will now be possible for the executive committee to determine whether or not the CA should accept an assignment of UrbanGrowth NSW’s interests in the NMSA and become a party to the agreement with the associated direct contractual relationship with Pivit. However, the minutes of the October 2016 EC meeting clearly indicate that the general feeling was that it would not be in the CA's best interests to enter into an agreement with Pivit. It's unlikely that the additional information now available in the unredacted NMSA will change that general feeling, and a formal decision will be made at the next EC meeting (11 April 2017).
The web team received a feedback submission on 15 November, and a subsequent email on 17 November from a resident of a large community located at Brisbane's Kelvin Grove. That community is also frustrated that its only telecoms provider is Pivit.
Website feedback submission | 15 November 2016
'I'm a resident in a large community in Kelvin Grove, Brisbane. We too are forced to use the Pivit monopoly for internet and even "free" to air TV. All because of our state government's decision when our community was created.
I came across your community's issues after doing a bit of research with ACCC. You may wish to have your legal team have a read of:
I hope this helps your community.'
Subsequent email | 17 November 2016
'I also read about your issues with Pivit and the HD Foxtel antenna. Pivit won't even maintain the TV antenna which is rusted and at risk of coming off a 7 level building during a storm.
We found our state government is actually on the side of Pivit. They used their position within our principle body corporate to sell our privately owned fibre network to Pivit for the grand sum of $1. The state government are just as responsible.
From my reading of that ACCC document it appears that the ACCC are going after these "vertically integrated" aka monopoly broadband providers especially as the federal government have decided not to roll out NBN to places like ours since Pivit got federal government approval to declare that they "adequately service" the area.
It looks like ACCC will force companies like Pivit to provide wholesale access to their networks, which would hopefully mean we get choice of retailer.
If I find out anything, I'll pass it on.'
CA EC proposed action
The web team forwarded this information to the CA EC, and it was decided that it would be best to await the ACCC's final verdict before taking further action. At that stage the new rules will presumably be set in stone, and it will be up to the alternative retail service providers to approach Pivit and others like it to obtain access to the existing infrastructure and provide choice to current users. We can live in hope!
Two strata schemes have had Telstra NBN ready cabling installed, and a further six have indicated they have accepted quotes for installation. Owners in some smaller strata schemes, neighbourhood associations and individual houses have voiced their disappointment with Telstra seemingly applying a very low priority to these dwellings for quotes and installation.
The EC has asked managing agent, Dynamic to write again to all strata managers reminding them of the opportunity for their strata schemes.
Urban Growth subsequently advised it will write to Pivit requesting it to provide an unredacted copy of the NMSA to the CA for review.
Well done to the residents of Breeze apartments in Harvey Street. For some months they have been negotiating with Telstra to extend its HFC network to Prince Henry, and are finally seeing some progress.
The CA's letter dated 10 August 2016 was emailed or mailed to all strata schemes, neighbourhood associations and individual lot owners explaining Telstra's intentions.
A letter dated 11 August 2016 from the CA's lawyer was also emailed or mailed to all strata schemes, neighbourhood associations and individual lot owners. The lawyer's letter outlined some of Telstra's requirements and clearly stated that the responsibility for accepting Telstra's proposal lies squarely with strata schemes, neighbourhood associations and individual lot owners.
It's important to note that:
- the CA is not able to become involved in private arrangements made between individual Prince Henry lot owners or subsidiary bodies and Telstra
- any works affecting the external appearance of building must comply with the Prince Henry Design Guidelines, and appropriate written approvals received before works commence
- any work carried out by Telstra to pavements must be approved by Randwick City Council and the approved concrete mix used to reinstate those pavements on completion of the works
Telstra has advised that as at mid-September:
- Telstra is focusing on signing up MDUs in the short term
- Negotiations have been finalised with two apartment blocks
- Six apartment blocks are at design | negotiation stage
- Individual houses and town houses may be considered down the track should the numbers stack up in accordance with Telstra’s business plan
A letter from UrbanGrowth dated 29 July 2016 responded to the CA lawyer's letter dated 10 June 2016 outlining CA concerns with the services provided by Pivit.
- Urban Growth does not want to get involved in the dispute between the CA and Pivit and suggests that the CA engages directly with Pivit, and the Network Management Services Agreement be transferred from UrbanGrowth to the CA.
- Urban Growth intends to forward the 10 June letter to Pivit unless requested not to.
- The lawyer advised that, on balance, he believes the CA should allow UrbanGrowth to send the letter to Pivit because Pivit may pay more attention to the CA's concerns knowing that UrbanGrowth is (somewhat) involved.*
* Note: The 10 June letter has been publicly available on this website for some months. It's therefore highly likely that Pivit has already read the letter.
- The lawyer does not believe there is any point in organising a meeting between the CA and Urban Growth because Urban Growth has made it clear that it does not want to get involved in the dispute between the CA and Pivit.
- The lawyer does believe there is merit in pursuing Urban Growth’s suggestion for it to transfer the NMSA to the CA because doing so will give the CA a contractual relationship with Pivit and, therefore, give the CA the right to enforce the terms of the agreement against Pivit.
- The CA's lawyer has previously advised the CA on the merits of Urban Growth transferring the NMSA to it – see letter of advice dated 11 May 2016.
A major issue is, of course, the lack of availability of choice of provider for Prince Henry residents. Clause 6 of the NSMA: 'Third Party Service Providers' clearly states that Pivit:
- '...will provide wholesale access to third party service providers of Wholesale Customer Connection Services'
- 'will not impose a fee or charge for access to the Network to any third party provider of Wholesale Connection Services'.
In addition, the federal governments 'Adequately served policy', which applies to Prince Henry, states 'Households can still choose their own retail service provider'. This is clearly not happening.
The CA EC has been liaising with Pivit and Urban Growth for some considerable time, both directly and through its lawyer, and has tried in vain to find out:
- why Pivit is not meeting the terms of the NMSA in respect of third party service providers
- why Urban Growth is not insisting on Pivit meeting its contractual obligations.
The EC will then consider the facts, discuss the options and present its recommendation for discussion and determination at the annual general meeting on 13 December 2016.
At a meeting with the CA's lawyer on 26 May, the EC agreed on the following action plan:
- Lawyer to write to Urban Growth regarding perceived breaches of the Network Management Services Agreement between Landcom (the Principal — now Urban Growth) and Pivit (the Operator).
- It was agreed that, as clearly stated a number of times in the NMSA, Prince Henry's telecommunications infrastructure (installed, owned and operated by Pivit) should become available for access by any other telecommunications providers that may wish to use the infrastructure to provide services to residents.
- It was also agreed that, subject to the existing infrastructure meeting current technological requirements, it should not be necessary for any other provider wishing to provide services to residents to install additional infrastructure.
- The EC determined therefore that the CA should not become involved in any move by residents to appoint another service provider to install additional infrastructure. However, at this time, the CA will not discourage residents from making their own enquiries. It's important to note that plans for any additional works must be submitted to the CA for review before lodging with the appropriate consent authority to obtain approval to proceed.
- The EC will make enquiries with alternative ISPs to determine interest in exploring options to provide telecoms services to Prince Henry residents, using the existing infrastructure.
For details of the points discussed and agreed on at the CA's meeting with its lawyer, read the legal letter sent to Urban Growth on 10 June 2016.
The CA has appointed a lawyer to advise on what owners and residents can or can't do in respect of the very complex nature of telecoms provision here at Prince Henry. The CA is awaiting advice from its lawyer as to how much of the detailed legal brief can be made public right now. However, the below extract will give you an idea of what the CA is trying to achieve on behalf of all Prince Henry owners and residents.
It's important that everyone's aware of the terms of the Network Management Services Agreement between Landcom (the Principal) and Pivit (the Operator). You can view or download the Agreement and other CA documents on the Community Association web page.
Extract from the CA's brief to its lawyer:
- Review the Network Management Services Agreement in conjunction with the Prince Henry Community Association Management Statement and the Department of Communications stated position on Prince Henry being ‘adequately served...households able to choose their own retail service provider’.
- Respond to the questions and comments relating to the Network Management Services Agreement
- Advise the CA as to its rights and obligations in respect of the provision of telecoms to residents
- Advise the CA as to any action that could or should be taken to achieve the desired outcome
In nutshell, Prince Henry users expect the same level of services and same level of choice as its neighbours:
- We're advised that the NBN will be available to all residences in the neighbouring new development on Anzac Parade, Little Bay Cove
- Other residences with 2036 postcode, including the rest of Little Bay, either have or will be getting the NBN with choice of a number of ISPs
To achieve this expectation, the following changes will need to take place:
- Installation of the NBN to Prince Henry
- Choice of ISP for all Prince Henry residents
In the event that these changes are not possible, the Principal named in the Network Management Services Agreement would need to be far more hands on and communicative — actually ensuring that the Operator is adhering to the terms of the Agreement and communicating with the CA on a regular basis (say quarterly).
Urban Growth has advised that important missing section, Schedule 9: Minimum Operator Service Levels, was redacted from the Network Management Services Agreement in error. A copy of Schedule 9 was provided and received on 7 April 2016.
You can view or download the Network Management Services Agreement and Schedule 9 in the Community Association web section under the heading Important documents. The document will be reviewed by the EC and discussed at its meeting on 12 April, when any action will be determined.
A copy of the Network Management Services Agreement between Landcom (now Urban Growth) and Pivit was received on 17 March 2016. Content that Pivit considered ‘commercial in confidence’ was redacted. The document, as received, is available to view or download in the Prince Henry Community Association web section under the heading Important documents. The term is for 25 years from the commencement date, being 1 May 2007, the execution date.
A very important schedule, Schedule 9: Minimum Operator Service Levels, was excluded from the document provided. The EC believes this schedule may have been deleted in error. Dynamic, the CA's managing agent, has requested a copy of the schedule.
You can view or download the Network Management Services Agreement in the Community Association web section under the heading Important documents. The document will be reviewed by the EC and discussed at its meeting on 12 April, when any action will be determined. All lot owners are welcome to attend that meeting as observers. However, observers may speak only if invited to do so by the Executive Committee.
Urban Growth has advised that it has decided to release some but not all information in relation to the original contract with Pivit. Urban Growth's Notice of Decision indicates that the information that will not be released includes that of the cost of the contract for commercial in confidence purposes.
On receipt of the Prince Henry Community Associaition's application, Urban Growth consulted with Pivit. Initially, Pivit objected to the decision to release information on the contract to the CA. However, Urban Growth while acknowledging Pivit's concerns stated that it is in the public interest that this information be released.
Urban Growth has to allow Pivit 40 days to object to the information being released. And so, subject to the current Decision standing, the CA we will receive information in relation to the Pivit contract no earlier than 14 March 2016.
Once the information is available, the CA can determine whether or not to contact the Telecoms Industry Ombudsman (TIO).
Is anyone experiencing painfully slow internet problems since the Foxtel upgrade around 17 December?
Seems many Prince Henry residents have been advised that they've exceeded their monthly data allocation, triggering 'speed shaping', which effectively means the internet slows to a snail's pace. Many residents we spoke with had not been advised that they'd exceeded their data allocation in the past − some have lived at Prince Henry for more than seven years. Many have upgraded their plans, of course increasing their monthly payment.
We received a call from an IT person looking after one of the residents who was astounded that with a monthly allowance of 500GB there were enough waking hours for his client to exceed the limit. Strange indeed. They're trying to get Pivit to investigate.
Is this a coincidence? Or is there a technical issue that Pivit is unaware of?
If you've had a problem with slow internet. we'd suggest your best option would be to contact Pivit and ask them to investigate.
At the end of the meeting, no resolution had been reached, with the positions of the parties as follows:
- Pivit owns the infrastructure and are responsible for updating and maintaining it. However, Pivit believes this arrangement is no longer commercially viable for them and has requested Foxtel to pay for the most recently required upgade. Pivit indicated that it would have to shut down that part of the system that delivers Foxtel if the upgrade work was not carried out at Foxtel's cost.
- Foxtel indicated it could not upgrade infrastructure that is owned by another party due to legal, commercial, and liability concerns that may arise at Little Bay and other similar sites. Foxtel's contract with Pivit states that the owner of the infrastructure must maintain and update the infrastructure as necessary. Foxtel also indicated it may enforce that particular clause of the contract with Pivit, as the owner of the infrastructure and therefore responsible for that work.
- The Community Association (CA) stated its clear position of having no interest in levying Prince Henry owners to fund infrastructure upgrades and maintenance, and could not do this in any case as the infrastructure is not CA property. The CA also made clear it has no interest in accepting all or part ownership of the telecommunications infrastructure for the following reasons:
(a) the CA has no expertise in this area and therefore no desire to own and be responsible for telecoms infrastructure
(b) an amendment to the Management Statement would be necessary, which would be require a series of general meetings and special resolutions.
The CA has stated it will continue its efforts to encourage Pivit to carry out its contracted responsibilities to Prince Henry residents by liaising with local and state members of parliament, as well as with Urban Growth (formerly Landcom).
Many thanks to Michael Daley and Matt Thistlethwaite for meeting with EC members at short notice at such a busy time of year.
EC members met with Michael Daley on 2 December. At the meeting, Michael expressed his surprise at Prince Henry having a sole provider for telecoms and that the sole provider was removing its email service and dragging the chain on infrastructure upgrades. He undertook to help with the Pivit issue and with other ongoing CA issues, the latter being less urgent and something to look forward to in 2016!
On 7 December, EC members met with Matt Thistlethwaite. He too was surprised at Prince Henry's sole provider and no email predicament. He said he'd write to Pivit and also to the Telecoms Industry Ombudsman if necessary, as well as speak with his Federal Government colleagues.
On 22 December, EC members met again with Matt Thistlethwaite, who advised that he'd written to Pivit seeking a meeting to discuss issues raised by the residents of Prince Henry. During a telephone meeting, Pivit had advised among other things that:
- the Foxtel infrastructure upgrade had been completed and consequently there should be no longer be pixelation on Foxtel's HD channels (it's interesting to note that the CA has received no formal notification from Pivit of this upgrade)
- it would not consider resuming an email service ¹
- it was trying to negotiate an amended contract with Urban Growth (formerly Landcom) ²
- The five services included in the original contract between Pivit and Landcom were: Free-to-air TV, Pay-TV, Internet, Email and telephone
- The EC has submitted an application under the GIPA Act to acquire a copy of the original contract between Landcom and Pivit. It is expecting to receive a determination on 15 January 2016.
We received a call from a Pivit officer some weeks ago bemoaning the fact that some Prince Henry residents seem to be under the impression that Pivit is responsible for the delivery of the Foxtel service. However, as the officer advised, despite Pivit owning the satellite that provides Prince Henry residents with the means to receive the Foxtel service, Pivit is not responsible for maintaining or upgrading Foxtel's infrastructure.
Over the past few months, Pivit has received several complaints from Prince Henry residents experiencing pixellation on some Foxtel channels. Pivit advised that this may be because the infrastructure needs upgrading to accommodate recent and not so recent technological advancements.
In a nutshell, the customer's contract is with Foxtel, not Pivit. Therefore if there is any problem with the Foxtel service, Foxtel should be carrying out the problem solving or trouble shooting roll − not Pivit, Anecdotal evidence suggests that on a number of occasions Prince Henry Foxtel customers have called Foxtel to report a problem, only to be advised by Foxtel operatives that he | she should contact Pivit. Remember, you pay Foxtel for this particular service, not Pivit, so your contract is with Foxtel, and Foxtel should be helping you to resolve the problem you're experiencing with its service.
Over the years, we're advised, Pivit has maintained its philosophy of trying to help Prince Henry's Foxtel customers resolve their problems wherever possible. And, Pivit has carried out minor repairs to Foxtel's infrastructure...because Pivit's maintenance team is often at Prince Henry. However, we're advised that major (potentially costly) infrastructure upgrades are Foxtel's responsibility.
If you're experiencing pixellation or any other problem with your Foxtel service, Pivit suggests you contact Foxtel to sort out the problem. If the Foxtel operative suggests you call Pivit, then remind them that your contract is with Foxtel not Pivit. If you have no luck, then we've found that posting on Facebook can get results.
Note: This article is not an opinion piece. It has been published to inform Prince Henry residents following a concerned call from Pivit.
Please submit your comments on any or all of the articles on this page by completing the feedback form. Or share your knowledge and / or experience in respect of other Prince Henry telecoms issues.