Coalition Government's NBN FiascoNewsletter
The NBN was a good idea turned giant, expensive headache for Australians since the Coalition began rolling it out in 2013.
After installing obsolete technology: a fibre-to-the-node, multi-technology mix; the Coalition Government is now spending a further $4.5 billion to upgrade the NBN from copper to fibre-to-the-home.
Hybrid fibre coax (HCF) is a telecommunications term for a broadband network that combines optical fibre and coaxial cable. A pure fibre connection, called fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP), or fibre-to-the-home is the gold standard for high speed internet. It provides reliable, stable and fast internet connection.
Riddled with problems, more than 27,000 Australians have made complaints about NBN this year alone – including complaints about slow speeds and poor connectivity. Some people have become so frustrated that they have abandoned their NBN connection and gone back to cable internet.
The pandemic, which has forced millions of people to work and learn remotely, has exposed the weaknesses in our inadequate internet infrastructure.
The Coalition’s failed fibre-to-the-node infrastructure is now going to be overbuilt with the fibre-to-the-home network that should have been built right from the start.
The irony is that just over ten years ago in 2009, that’s exactly what Labor proposed, but the Coalition demolished it. Labor wanted to install high-speed internet direct to people’s homes, but the Coalition savaged it as an extravagant waste.
Renowned luddite Tony Abbott led the attack on Labor’s plan for fibre-to-the-home fast-speed NBN, and encouraged Turnbull to scrap it.
Demonstrating his complete lack of understanding of what the internet actually is, Abbott said in a press conference in 2010: “Do we really want to invest $50 billion of hard-earned tax payers’ money, in what is essentially a video entertainment system?”
Malcolm Turnbull in the same press conference said, laughably, even by standards of ten years ago, “Should the tax-payer be paying $50 billion to subsidise people staying at home watching movies?”
Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland said the Coalition has wasted seven years on an inadequate system when they could have rolled out Labor’s fibre-to-the-home model from the start.
She said, “The multi-technology mix cost at least $21.5 billion more than promised, more to operate, generates less revenue, and is more exposed to 5G competition.”
“The original fibre rollout would have generated at least half a billion more in cash flows per annum, according to Malcolm Turnbull’s own documents.”
As recently as May this year, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher trashed Labor’s original fibre to the home NBN plan, but six months later he has adopted it.
In a massive backflip, after rolling out their inadequate mixed technology model the Coalition has admitted defeat and decided to install fibre-to-the-home.
Former MP Tony Windsor put it aptly in 2016 when he said of the NBN: “Do it once, do it right, do it with fibre. This is the infrastructure of the century. It delivers for our kids, it delivers in terms of our health, it delivers in terms of education and business.”
Why does the coalition’s failed NBN model matter? It matters because Australians have been lied to for ten years about NBN.
It matters because it’s a failed scheme for which the coalition accepts no accountability. It is sheer technological and financial incompetence and Australians have a right to know about it.
This story was originally published in Libby's October Newsletter. Please click here to subscribe to the email newsletter.Share Tweet