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Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Page: 5823


Senator SMITH (Western AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (14:57): My question is to the Minister for Communications, Senator Fifield. Can the minister update the Senate on another successful year on the rollout of the National Broadband Network?

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order on my left!

Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts) (14:58): I thank Senator Smith for his question, and I'm glad those opposite share in our delight at the progress of the rollout of the NBN. As I think all colleagues in this place would appreciate, the NBN is becoming a reality, and can I on behalf of myself and my fellow shareholder minister, Senator Cormann, congratulate NBN on another strong year of performance.

The annual results announced yesterday show that the company has an achievable plan to complete the network by 2020. That's six to eight years sooner than would have been the case under those opposite, and at $30 billion less cost. The good news is that now one in every two Australian homes and businesses can access the NBN. At the end of the financial year, I can report that there were 5.7 million premises ready for service compared with the corporate plan target of 5.4 million premises. Similarly, activations were 440,000 premises ahead of target. There are now close to 2.7 million homes and businesses connected to the network, with around 40,000 premises signing up to NBN based plans each and every week. That's fast, affordable broadband to many, many premises around Australia.

The benefits of the NBN aren't just online. The project now has 24,000 workers designing, building and switching on services across the nation. There's more work underway at 1,850 discrete work sites, and around 200,000 additional premises are gaining access to the NBN each and every month. This is a big contrast to what we inherited from those opposite where only 51,000 people could access the network when they left office.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Smith, a supplementary question.

Senator SMITH (Western AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (15:00): Can the minister outline how the coalition's multitechnology mix has helped to increase rollout speed and keep internet broadband plans affordable for consumers?