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Canberrans still in the dark about NBN rollouts

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Monday, May 19th, 2014 @ 4:04PM


Senator for the ACT


19 May 2014


Canberrans are still in the dark about if and when they will receive the NBN after NBN Co failed to provide many clear answers to the Senate Select Committee into the National Broadband Network today.

Almost 110,000 homes and businesses in the ACT that were on the NBN Co three year NBN rollout maps don’t know if they are still in the NBN Co plans to be connected after maps were removed from the NBN Co website in late October of last year.

NBN Co told the Committee that 25,547 ACT premises have been passed by NBN rollout of which 39 per cent are actively connected.

The Committee also learnt that while just two FSAMs are currently under construction in the ACT, detailed design work is currently being undertaken for a further four in Canberra servicing the suburbs of Campbell, Turner, Braddon and Reid, although NBN Co could not provide a time frame for the completion of that detailed design work and when construction will commence.

“The evidence provided today by NBN Co has revealed very little about the status of the rollout within the ACT - there are a still a lot of questions that that need to be answered”, said Committee Chair Senator Kate Lundy.

“NBN Co could not provide any information regarding how the existing TransACT network would be incorporated within the Coalition’s multi-technology network, nor could they identify what areas of Canberra will receive a fibre-to-the-premise connection compared to fibre-to-the-node”.

“I am disappointed that NBN Co could not provide more information for Canberrans - I am hoping that they will be able to come back to the Committee with more information.”

“What we have learnt however is that the rollout of the NBN in Canberra has slowed to a snail’s pace under the Coalition - clearly Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull’s pre-election commitment to deliver the NBN faster did not apply to Canberra households and business”.

The Committee also heard evidence from ‘My Broadband v Reality’, a Twitter group who surveyed members of the community regarding their household internet speeds.

The survey found that on average actual median speeds between households were considerably lower than those purported on the My Broadband website.

“My Broadband v Reality’s evidence clearly demonstrates that the methodology the Government uses to calculate ‘median’ internet speeds is flawed,” said Senator Lundy.

“If the Government cannot even calculate current internet speeds accurately, why should Canberrans trust the Coalition’s claims that a multi-technology mix will deliver download speeds of at least 25mbs to all premises?”

My Broadband v Reality’s full submission can be viewed here.

The Committee’s full terms of reference and a forthcoming transcript of today’s hearing can be accessed via the Australian Parliament House website here.