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Mar 252015

The following is a speech by Ross Vasta MP, Federal Member for Bonner, made in Parliament on Tuesday 24th March 2015. You can add comments or questions at the end of this page.

I rise tonight to speak on one of the most important issues in my electorate of Bonner. This issue is a lack of fast and reliable internet broadband. I am here to update the House on broadband access in Bonner and the progress of the NBN rollout in my electorate. I will also speak on the technology that will help bring high-speed reliable broadband to my constituents sooner, and at less cost

I have spoken many times in this chamber on this pressing matter. It pains me to stand here today with many fresh stories from residents and businesses who are struggling to access the world-class broadband that is essential for so many things these days. Just the other day I heard the story of a father of two who lives in Mansfield. He tells me that since he moved there 10 years ago, his internet service has gone from bad to worse. Incredibly slow download speeds and regular dropouts are the daily norm, he says.

It has caused untold frustration for the whole household. His wife needs it for work on her PhD and for the days she works from home, his two children need it for their high school work, not to mention daily activities that need a stable internet connection—like paying bills online or accessing government services.

And that is the thing with internet broadband: it is not a luxury that can wait—it is a must-have in today’s increasingly tech-driven world. The coalition understands this. On the other hand, Labor overpromised and underdelivered, as though people could afford just to hold out for years on end. Many suburbs, including those in my electorate lag behind as a result: Carindale, Wishart, Mansfield, Wynnum West, Manly West, Wakerley and Rochedale, to name just a few.

I have contacted telco representatives in my area more times than I would like to, because my constituents cannot even access basic ADSL services. The NBN was supposed to be the cure-all from the start. Instead, Labor let down the people of Bonner on a grand scale.

The coalition could not let the NBN go on the way it was under Labor. It would have cost $73 billion—$29 billion more than claimed. It would have increased prices for consumers by up to 80 per cent, and we would have had to wait until 2024 for it to be finished—almost a decade, when we are already behind much of the world.

Now, under the coalition’s plan, the NBN will be completed faster, using a multitechnology mix. I am pleased to report that a large number of residents and businesses in Bonner will benefit from this revised roll-out strategy. It matches the right technology to the right location, making use of existing networks, where possible, to deliver superfast broadband. Under this model, areas with poor broadband will receive upgrades several years sooner.

This is great news for my Bonner constituents, especially considering that around 77 per cent of premises in my electorate are already passed by the existing HFC network, which NBN Co will be utilising to deliver superfast broadband. This means a quicker and more efficient rollout of the NBN in Bonner.

Further to that, NBN Co has announced it will be amongst the first in the world to deploy next-generation HFC technology in 2017. Users will be able to access download speeds of one gigabit per second and upload speeds of 100 megabits per second, where offered by their retail service provider. This will be a huge step up.

Clearly, the coalition has put the NBN back on the right track. Under our plan, all Australians will be receiving first-rate, high-speed, reliable broadband in less time and at less cost to taxpayers. In particular, the coalition has prioritised those who were underserved by the previous government. We recognise that residents and businesses cannot afford to wait for the NBN.

I would also like to thank my colleague the Minister for Communications, the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, for the excellent job that he has done turning the NBN around. He took a project that was way off track and off budget and reshaped it to ensure that more areas in need receive fast, affordable broadband. The NBN will now be completed in a much timelier and cost-effective manner. My Bonner constituents will reap the benefits of the minister’s good work.

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  2 Responses to “Ross Vasta on the NBN”

  1. Dear Mr Vasta, it is disappointing to see yet another Coalition MP making unsubstantiated claims that the FTTP NBN approach would cost $73 billion and the Coalition’s MTM approach would cost – just what exactly? You’re speech has been carefully crafted to spruik the fantasy that the MTM NBN would in fact be cheaper than the FTTP NBN whilst failing to provide details on when it will be provided and the life-cycle cost over 30 years.

    You make no statements about the Coalition failing to meet pre-election commitments. You make no statements about the German and UK governments lashing their incumbent telcos for continuing with FTTN when they should be providing FTTP. You make no statements about why the Coalition is forcing Australia to use an obsolete technology now at a time when other countries are using FTTdp/G.Fast or FTTP.

    The reality Mr Vasta is that over a 30 year life time the MTM NBN will cost significantly more and remain second-rate. It is important for your electorate that you investigate the facts so that you can adequately represent Bonner by arguing for a first-rate NBN.

    Dr Mark Gregory
    RMIT University

  2. Ross, you are misinformed on several levels here, far more than I have time to go through point by point. However let me start on this:

    “He took a project that was way off track and off budget and reshaped it to ensure that more areas in need receive fast, affordable broadband.”

    As one of the residents of Wynnum West, we currently have no rollout plans in our area. No different from Bayside under Labor for the next 3 years (as of the last election date, 18 months ago). “More areas in need” certainly includes us. However, there are no plans as of this date for the NBN rollout in our area either.

    For off budget … that’s also how the Coaltion are funding the NBN as well. So to attack the previous government over that funding model is a little ironic.

    A mix of technology stacks of HFC (I can see the cable from my house, but that’s as far as I can get, no connection allowed) and VDSL (also known as FTTN) that relies on shaky copper (which we as taxpayers now pay Telstra to remediate, something that they should have done themselves) will not see Bayside through more than the next decade at even Mr Turnbull’s best estimate, before needing to do it again.

    How does this help Bayside, when the alternative removed copper from the equation by installing fibre to the premises, was cheaper to maintain than copper, and didn’t require us … the Australian taxpayer … to give Telstra another $600 million so far in extra design costs over and above the $11 billion they were already getting?

    Additionally, Mr Turnbull’s Fibre on Demand is a joke. $300 to see if it’s viable, another $300 for the design work, and the home owner still has to pay hundreds, if not thousands (depending on distance) to get fibre. As opposed to a network which had fibre to our doors.

    I fail to see what there is to cheer about here.

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