Regional councils want to pay for broadband: Turnbull

Regional councils want to pay for broadband: Turnbull

Summary: Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has suggested that councils will want to stump up cash to improve broadband in their areas.


The Coalition's National Broadband Network policy will allow for local councils to co-invest in their broadband rollout, Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said.

Under the policy released on Tuesday, 71 percent of premises in Australia would receive fibre-to-the-node services, while 22 percent would receive fibre-to-the-premises services, and the last 7 percent would continue to receive fixed-wireless and satellite services.

On Wednesday, Turnbull indicated that areas in the last 7 percent could potentially be serviced by fibre to the node, but he would not say how many premises he believed would be able to switch to fixed-line services. Speaking in Geelong, Victoria, on Thursday, Turnbull opened the door for regional councils to fund broadband investment along with the Federal government.

"I was talking to one of our colleagues, Bruce Scott, just this morning, who is delighted, as indeed are some of his local communities in Maranoa about the opportunity for co-investment because there are local communities there who want to put their own money, local councils want to put their own money to enhance wireless coverage and broadband coverage generally, and we've got a flexibility in our policy to accommodate that," he said.

He reiterated that regional communities moving to fibre to the node would be better off under his NBN proposal.

"Those communities are eminently suited to the fibre-to-the-node approach that we've described, ... and it's not an accident. I mean, we have by far the biggest representation of regional MPs and senators in the Parliament," he said.

"Our roots are in regional Australia as a political movement, as a Coalition. So we are listening to those regional MPs in those communities, and they have contributed to the formation of our policy.

Turnbull's argument is that the fixed-wireless and satellite services can only guarantee a maximum speed of 25 megabits-per-second (Mbps), while on the fibre-to-the-node network, the Coalition is promising a minimum of 25Mbps by 2016, and 50Mbps by 2019.

The Coalition's policy has been criticised by regional independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, who have described the policy as "madness" and a step backward in using copper instead of fibre.

Under the current NBN proposal, those living outside the fibre footprint can apply to have the fibre extended out to their premise at their own cost, but the price is much higher than the rest of the network rollout, with one customer quoted AU$150,000 for NBN Co to roll out 1.3km of fibre to his house.

Turnbull himself has said that fibre-to-the-node users who want the full fibre service could pay for it, similar to the trials underway in the UK. Labor has seized on this, stating that people who want fibre on the Coalition's NBN could expect to pay up to AU$5,000.

Topic: NBN


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • The day by day rollout of Turnbull's lameness continues.

    Who knows, by September, people might be willing to vote Labor? :^)
    • Only a fool

      Only a fool would vote for labor because they have conflicting views on an NBN
      • True

        People should vote Labor it because Joe "Opps, I missed $70B" Hockey can't add up and Tony "core/non-core, blood oath" Abbott has "credibility issues" with the truth
      • You know what's disgraceful?

        People coming to a tech blog to electioneer...

        We are here to discuss comms. If you want to support a political party, place a poster in your yard.
        • So that's that then

          Guess we will miss your input as every blog needs a 'charity' member.

          Just be carful when you hammer in the sign in case the NBN cable runs down your mums footpath.
          • Tell us again as you did April 16

            The NBN is great...

            We are waiting.
          • Yes RS anything you say

            Keep up the medication.

            Drink lots if water.

            You are going to be ok.
    • I am almost ready but I really want a third choice that is not anti busines

      The way these clowns are moving forward they are clearly demonstrating they have no vision and no real direction. Unfortunately Labour can't see me either because I don't live in a town of more that 5 or 50 Thousand or whatever there idiot limit is. It is simple. You will have done an adequate job when every copper wire in Australia is replaced with a fibre cable.

      The copper network is in tatters and about ready to fall apart, (really worth that 10 Billion.) Any plan that does not deliver Fibre to replace copper is inadequate. I don't want to be left in the 20th Century, simply because I don't have to right address.

      I don't see them offering me the opportunity to pay second class taxes to go with the second class delivery of government services.
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • Love the chart Hubert

      Mind if I borrow it?
      • Not at all :-)
        Hubert Cumberdale
    • That is wrong

      I live in a regional area, I will not be receiving NBN services, so it most certainly does disadvantage regional users.

      Tried internet gaming with satellite? It does not matter how much bandwidth these guys throw at the problem it does not make it fast. It is a long way out to that satellite, and a long way back. If satellite and wireless are suitable, why is anyone spending money on fibre. The answer is of course that they are not suitable, they are cheap. 5 years ago I has a television service that worked when it rained. Now I have satellite because the government made television better. Now when it rains there is no television, and I pay $350 a point to have more than one TV and when the satellite decode breaks down that is my expense as well.

      Folks I love progress, but neither of the NBN programs represent real progress for those in rural Australia. Those that think it does need to get a comparison of speed and latency for the three and then check uptime. Internet that only works when there is no cloud cover is not even tolerable and that is the pup we are being sold.
      • That's true, Matt

        But no country can afford fibre rollout to the kind of rural area we have. Even looking at LEO constellations (they aren't geostationary, so you need multiple satellites to run) the latency is awful. Rural isn't going to get anything but satellite though.
  • As if local councils don't have enought trouble!

    With state and federal cost shifting! Turnbull wants to put the boot in a bit more!
    • Councils want to pay!

      And where do councils get there money from? The old magic cake!
      • Actually they get it from

        Conroy. That is why his department has a program that pays each council around 400k if they can come up with an in inventive application that will validate the NBN.

        This far we have seen a few video conferencing installs that have no business case.
  • Wireless - Ngara!

    Remember - home users connect using WiFi (usually 801.11g/n) with speeds around the 50Mbit/sec attainable - yes - attainable in theory. I am doing that right now.

    For flats and suburban districts CSIRO has pioneered a REAL answer (Ngara) that compliments fibre to the node AND meets the "last 1 metre to 1 Km" problem. Honestly - no-one is going to walk around the house with a cable dangling from their tablet or smart phone nor will they even Cat 5 wire their house for the smart TV - no they will use and do use wireless. ( Cables cause you and the pets to get caught up in the stuff!)

    So - opportunity..... why do that on a house by house basis and poorly manage it?
    Fibre to the node - yes - node to home/flat/apartment to node via NEW wireless with speeds now being obtained beyond 100Mbit/sec. (Of course, option to fibre to required premises still exists.)

    AND remember - the NBN Co current solution uses a shared single fibre (GPON) for those suburban users with crypto used for separation - and we hope that the scheme is totally trusted along with its key management protocols. (Yes - everyone gets everyone else's downloads - but crypto separated using AES 128 bit cipher.)

    AND what an opportunity to use Australian technology from the group that essentially gave us WiFi anyway - CSIRO. (After all - again - how many house/flat renters will sign up for a 2 year ISP/NBN fixed line contract??)

    Remember that figure from the Obama campaign in the USA that found that less than 50% of those under 30 actually had a fixed line phone contact! They "live" in a wireless world!
    ( A new revenue stream for local government? After all - they do collect the garbage, supply water and sewerage services (well, for sewerage - in some places other than this area on the Gold Coast where we still have 40 years old septic tanks).

    Yes - time for a rethink.......
    • Ngara

      Ngara is limited to like 11 users for one transmission system. It's use is for highly regionalised areas, not for metro.

      You also need to realise that home Wifi has nothing to do with the last mile problem. I run 300Mbit WiFi at home too - but also cable for some devices, as it doesn't penetrate walls very well. But what the hell has that to do with the last mile problem anyway? WiFi has nothing to do the distribution network, WiFi is usless for distribution within an MTU (the number of base stations required would be more expensive than dragging cable) and LTE / 4G has been shown to need almost as many base stations as FTTN cabinets. Your post makes no sense.
      • I think hemight be... Alan Jones listener...
    • And when you saturate the available frequencies?

      You will do this, in built-up areas. What then, hey?