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Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Page: 2060

Broadband


Mr WILKIE (Denison) (14:15): Prime Minister, the NBN rollout is supposedly nearing completion in Tasmania. But subcontractors in my electorate tell me the copper network, which is integral to your government's model, is in dire need of improvement. So why has the copper network improvement program stalled in Tasmania? Moreover, why is it that a constituent who runs his business from his home in Fern Tree still can't connect to the NBN, even though he's only 60 metres from a node? Why are small business owners in urban areas like Moonah being quoted $5,000, $10,000 or even $20,000 to upgrade from fibre to the node to fibre to the premises, when NBN infrastructure is already very close?

Mr Rob Mitchell interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for McEwen is warned.



Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:16): I must remind the technological geniuses on the other side that the network which is being used by the NBN in my electorate where I live and where the honourable member for Maribyrnong lives is in fact copper. That's what HFC is made out of. I'm just letting you know. It's copper cable. It's called co-axial cable and it has copper running down it. That is just a little pick-up for you.

I turn to Tasmania. As the honourable member has already highlighted, the NBN is almost completely rolled out. There are over 267,000 premises ready to connect, and 161,000 premises have an active NBN connection already. It's a far cry from the situation we inherited in late 2013, when the NBN rollout in Tasmania was a complete mess. The lead contractor, Visionstream, had downed tools. Notwithstanding the brief interlude of the honourable member for Grayndler as communications minister, it wasn't enough to save the NBN from the Conrovian experiment. All up, there were only 7,000 fixed-line premises in Tasmania ever connected under the former Labor government, despite the rollout kicking off in that state in 2010.

In the honourable member's electorate, the rollout is essentially complete. I am advised there are just 266 connections to go, and to date 71 per cent of the premises in his electorate have connected to the NBN, which is a great result. That's almost 60,000 premises in Denison able to connect to the NBN. He's raised an issue about a particular constituent, and his office has provided details of that constituent. The NBN is in touch with the constituent today to see how the problem that's been reported to him can be addressed.

In terms of the prices quoted by NBN under technology choice, they simply reflect the real-world cost of rolling out more expensive technologies to a particular premises. The reality is that the NBN, as delivered by my government, delivered by the coalition, is getting built far sooner—many years sooner—and tens of billions of dollars more affordably.