HOW MALCOLM TURNBULL MADE A MESS OF THE NBN

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By The Hon Michael Danby, Member for Melbourne Ports

Malcolm Turnbull’s handling of the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) – his pet project – has been so poor that news.com.au’s Nick Whigham reports of calls for the current strategy to be abandoned out of fears that “the use of copper will cause the project to be outdated before it’s completed”.

The night before the last election, Tony Abbott wrote an open letter to the Australian people saying “I want our NBN to be rolled out within three years and Malcolm Turnbull is the right person to make this happen”, but three years on Turnbull has failed to deliver.

Internet Society of Australia CEO, Laurie Patton, said Australia’s internet speeds warranted a national outcry after Akamai released their quarterly ‘State of the Internet’ report comparing global internet speeds.

Nick Whigham goes on to report (3 April, 2016) that “Australia did not fare well, slipping to 60th in the global rankings in terms of average peak internet speed — considered to be a crucial measurement in broadband performance. The unflattering ranking represents a continued slide as the nation ranked 30th in the category when Mr Turnbull held the post of Communications Minister just a few years ago”.

“Fast. Affordable. Sooner” was the three word slogan when the Liberals scrapped Labor’s world class Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN, but they’ve let the Australian people down on all three of those measures.

Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals promised every home and business would have access to 25mbps to 100mbps by the end of 2016, but Australia is now languishing behind Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Poland in Akamai’s global internet speed rankings.

They promised that their second rate copper NBN would cost just $29.5 billion to roll out, but it has now blown out to almost $56 billion. If Malcolm Turnbull oversaw a near 100 per cent budget blowout in the private sector he would, Donald Trump style, insist the person responsible get the sack.

The Liberals also promised that everyone would have access to the NBN this year, but still most of St Kilda, Elwood, Albert Park, Middle Park and South Melbourne are yet to be connected. Local residents and businesses can’t wait to access the benefits of faster, world-class internet connections, but half of those in Melbourne Ports won’t receive it until 2018. In fact, there are but three apartment complexes in St Kilda that have access to the faster internet of the NBN.

For a bloke whom Tony Abbott credited as “virtually inventing the internet in this country” Turnbull’s NBN rollout has been an absolute mess. Slow, expensive and well behind schedule.

Labor conceived of the NBN and began its construction. It’s a nation-building infrastructure project which will help provide health services, deliver a world class education and support a strong and growing economy.

One of the pledges Labor has for the next election is for a world class fibre-optic network, because residents in St Kilda, Elwood, Albert Park, Middle Park and South Melbourne deserve so much better than Malcolm Turnbull’s NBN mess.

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