With vast amounts of money being spent on television advertising for “Gen NBN” it is little wonder my office has been receiving so many queries regarding the promised service the vast majority of us have no access to.
Many of you would have received a card from my office regarding the “White Elephant” the NBN has become under the Abbott/Turnbull regime, and how you may be waiting until 2019 for paler version of what was originally planned.
When this card was sent out to residents I was aware that a number of premises in the Southbank area did have access to a lighter version of the NBN than that which Labor was delivering. My office has received several complaints on the poor performance of the NBN that many originally thought they were fortunate to have access to.
My office worked very hard to try and only target areas of the electorate that do not have NBN. As I am sure you can appreciate, doing this in area’s with a small number of connected premises can be quite difficult.
The material sent was not just seeking to inform the electorate of the slow pace of the roll out but also the type of connection being provided under the Turnbull government. Labor’s version of NBN is starkly different to that being rolled out by the Turnbull/ Abbott Government. Labor proposed connecting fibre directly to the home (FTTH), replacing our old, poorly maintained and out of date copper network. Fibre has a much longer lifespan than that of copper and also has the capacity to provide far greater speeds. By keeping the existing copper network, we, the customers of NBN Co will have to pay for the replacement of the old copper network sometime in the near future. It seems to me that instead of buying the old networks from Telstra and Optus, that money would have been better spent rolling out the more reliable and longer lasting fibre option (FTTH).
You correctly state a number of important points in your letter. It is completely unacceptable that most of the Melbourne Ports electorate is going to have to wait until 2019 for an upgraded connection. This is compounded by the fact that the “upgraded” connection will be substandard to that proposed by Labor, cost more and is taking longer to roll out.
I note that you have paid particular attention to the point about Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC). While you have correctly noted that this is a slower option to that of Labor’s Fibre to the Home (FTTH), it will also skip numerous streets that fall within the HFC areas. This is because Telstra and Optus built their networks for cable TV and did not cover all streets as a result. Under Turnbull’s plan these streets (in areas like Elwood) would be left with the slower Fibre to the Node (FTTN).
I do not want to make comment on individual commercial offerings outside of NBN as the differences between each are vast and the details intricate. Instead, it is important to note more broadly that many of these offerings would only be available in specific areas and may also be years away. The best solution is to invest properly in the NBN and by doing so, each ISP can fairly compete for business in all communities, including here in Melbourne Ports. Such competition would be better for consumers and the broader social and economic spheres. It would also mean there would be no gaps in investment for some streets (like in the HFC case) or whole communities that may not attract private investment.
In terms of avenues for a solution, I would suggest writing to the Federal communication minister, Senator Mitch Fifield (Details: firstname.lastname@example.org) . By members of the community keeping the pressure on the government it will remind them how important this project is and the need to deliver quality outcomes, quickly.
Finally, I have provided a link below to a copy of Labor’s policy on this matter. I would like to point out that Labor’s ultimate aim is still to have 93% of the country serviced by an FTTH connection. If elected at the next Federal election Labor and Bill Shorten would work as hard as possible to deliver NBN more quickly and with a faster connection.
Read more: Labors Positive NBN Policy