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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 232

Broadband

The PRESIDENT: Senator Duniam, a supplementary question.


Senator DUNIAM (Tasmania) (15:01): Can the minister compare these results with alternative approaches?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts) (15:01): Mr President, as you know, we have not taken Senator Conroy's theological approach to the NBN. We have taken a technology-agnostic approach, which means that we pursue what is known as a multi-technology mix of whatever is the technology that will see NBN rolled out fastest and at lowest cost.

Mr President, I know you will be interested in something recently from The Wall Street Journal. It recorded that Google's high-speed web arm, Google Fiber, which has been rolling out an all-fibre network in 12 cities across the US, is planning to cut its staff in half and turn its attention from fibre to wireless technologies. The journal reported that Google's parent company, Alphabet, is rethinking its high-speed internet business after initial rollouts of fibre proved to be too expensive, and digging up people's front yards—(Time expired)

Senator Conroy interjecting

Senator O'Neill interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Senator Conroy and Senator O'Neill, you have both been constant interjectors during this question. Senator Duniam, your final supplementary question.



Senator DUNIAM (Tasmania) (15:03): Can the minister inform the Senate of the project's scheduled completion date and whether the NBN is on track to meet this target?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts) (15:03): Last year's NBN corporate plan envisaged a doubling of the network footprint year on year through financial years 2016-17 and 2017-18. One year on, I am very pleased to say that NBN has achieved that first doubling while at the same time introducing three new technologies, as I said before. NBN has nailed its marks in terms of rollout and financial targets for nine consecutive quarters. And the great news is that the NBN is on track for completion by 2020.

Mr President, you can take two approaches to looking at the policy of those opposite. If you are feeling particularly ungenerous you can see that their plan might take an extra six to eight years longer. If you are feeling generous and you take Labor's own policy from the election at face value, their approach would take two years longer. Whichever way you look, our plan is sooner, cheaper— (Time expired)

Senator Brandis: Mr President, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.