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Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Page: 12001

Broadband


Mr CLARE (Blaxland) (14:41): My question is to the Prime Minister. Before the last election the now Prime Minister promised that all Australians would have access to internet speeds of 25 megabits per second by the end of 2016. Does the Prime Minister admit that this is another broken promise?


Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:41): I thank the honourable member. One more question and he will have asked me more questions today than he has done in the last two years. Again, I will treat this question as a polite request for information, and I will respond accordingly. When we were preparing our broadband policy that we took to the last election—

Mr Brendan O'Connor interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Gorton has been warned.

Mr TURNBULL: the key question to ask was: 'How could we complete the project faster, cheaper and more effectively?' That was the key question. And we undoubtedly got that answer right—that a mixed technology model is cheaper and faster and more efficient. That is beyond question. We got the fundamental answer right. We were optimistic in setting as a goal that—not simply from the NBN but from all other technologies, including the HFC networks and including wireless networks and so forth—by the end of 2016 all Australians would have access to 25 megs. It was set as a goal. By the time of the strategic review that was completed in December, only a few months after the election, it was quite clear that that goal could not be achieved. And we were very frank about that and we acknowledge that. It is very important for honourable members to understand—particularly honourable members opposite—that we are playing, with the NBN, a very difficult hand of cards that the Labor Party left us. They left us a mess. In my judgement, tens of billions of dollars have been wasted that can never ever be recovered. The reality is that the technologies we are using are absolutely the latest technologies used around the world.

Opposition members: Copper?

Mr TURNBULL: The honourable members go on about copper. The approach that we are taking—the mixed technology approach—is the same as is being taken by British Telecom, by Deutsche Telekom, by Swiss telecom and by AT&T. It may be that honourable members opposite know more about telecommunications than all of those big telcos, but I doubt it. I actually think that those big telcos and other nations have got a pretty good handle on this, and the approach we are taking is a very powerful one. I can give one example, just on the Central Coast where the FTTN rollout is occurring, where a gentleman who lived some distance from the node had said he wanted to pay to have fibre pulled to his house nonetheless. And the NBN can do that. Once he was connected and was getting over 60 megabits per second download speed, he said, 'That's fantastic. I don't need fibre to the premises.'

Opposition members interjecting

Ms Butler interjecting

Mr Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: I have asked the member for Griffith to cease interjecting. She continued to interject through that answer. That is her final warning. The same applies to the member for McEwen.