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.