We will pass more by NBN fibre than Labor did: Turnbull

We will pass more by NBN fibre than Labor did: Turnbull

Summary: Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that the NBN will pass twice the number of premises with fibre to the home by June next year than the project did under the former government.


Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has gone on the attack against claims that the new Coalition government has stalled the rollout of the fibre-to-the-premises National Broadband Network (NBN), stating that the network will pass more premises with fibre by the end of June 2014 than have been passed to date.

The minister has faced criticism from Labor over a perceived slowdown in construction efforts on the NBN since the Coalition took government in September, with the network only passing 2,000 premises for the month of September.

NBN Co and Turnbull blamed the slowdown on pit and duct remediation work kicking off again after the asbestos issues earlier this year, and on difficulty with Tasmanian construction partner Visionstream, which is now asking for more funding to complete its existing contract.

Today, Turnbull and the NBN Co executive chair visited the Western Sydney suburb of Blacktown to prove that the NBN is still rolling out. In a video posted to Turnbull's YouTube page, the minister said that double the premises will be passed by fibre by the end of June than are currently passed today.

"NBN Co is proceeding; 12,000 premises were passed last week. We have issued design instructions for more premises, twice as many premises to be passed by June 30 next year as NBN Co has been passed to date," he said.

"So the proposition that the NBN rollout has been stopped or slowed is simply not correct."

According to stats released by NBN Co this week, the network has so far passed 304,840 premises by fibre, with 232,017 of those able to order a service.

Turnbull's office clarified that the NBN will have passed 450,000 brownfields premised by the end of June. The NBN has currently passed 237,324 brownfields premises, with 164,501 able to order a service.

The company today also appeared briefly in the New South Wales Supreme Court for a directions hearing into the case brought against it by Telstra over claims that NBN Co has wrongly valued the AU$11 billion deal. The hearing lasted for just one minute, with Justice David Hammerschlag setting another hearing for the case on December 13.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU, Australia


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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  • What a very odd thing to Turnbull to say. Surely since according to him FttN can achieve the speeds needed why wouldn't he just say "GimpCo will pass more by FttN than Labor did with fibre", I mean for one it would have the benefit of at least looking consistent and aligning with his 'we'll get it rolled out quicker blah blah blah' mantra. Thing is if Turnbull truly believes that why is he so concerned about a few FttP areas when everyone is getting the magical 25mbps in the next 1148 days anyway?

    Basically what Turnbull is doing here is admitting more people on fibre = better. More people on fibre sooner = better. Delays rolling out FttP sooner = a problem. Too bad he lacks the self awareness to even realise this.
    Hubert Cumberdale
    • Not odd at all.

      That's a very dishonest or misinformed comment, Hubert. Turnbull's argument has always been about cost/benefit, not that slower speeds are magically better than faster speeds. The Coalition's broadband plan has always included FttP among the various technologies to be used as appropriate to the area and situation. There's a difference between "better" and "needed".
      • A "half-NBN" is worse than no NBN

        Turnbull's plan for a half-NBN, that is, an NBN that stops a few streets away from your house, and goes the rest of the way on corroded old twisted copper pairs, is worse than no NBN.

        If that half-NBN goes into your area, you'll never get the full Fiber-to-the-Premises NBN down the track. Houses with no NBN are more likely to get updated when a government comes to power that supports Fiber-to-the-People.

        There's no cost benefit to buying a rusted car that will soon need repair and replacement. That's why most people don't buy rusted cars.

        Yet the twisted copper cables under the streets already need replacement due to poor insulation and corrosion.
      • It is odd. In fact it's a hilariously odd thing to be fixated on considering the coalition clowns obsession has always been with FttN and wireless. FttP is not a priority for them at all that's why their patchwork plan only mentions 22%. Don't forget Turnbull is trying to convince us FttN is all we ever need. A simple "Don't worry everyone will get 25mbps by the end of 2016" is all he really needs to say, the fact that we get more coalition clown spin about fibre rollouts instead is very telling.
        Hubert Cumberdale
        • Only in your own mind

          @Hubert "FttP is not a priority for them at all"

          It clearly is a priority to them in areas where it's planned, as evidenced by Turnbull's statement in this article.

          Vbitrate is free to argue that the cost/benefit is better with mostly FttP than mostly FttN, but to misconstrue Turnbull's argument as "FttN is better than FttP" is dishonest. The argument has always been that ~98% FttN is a "Rolls-Royce" scheme that is unaffordable and will take longer to implement, not that it's intrinsically less desirable. You can disagree with his position without needing to invent an imaginary one for him.
          • (Typo: "...~98% FttN..." -> "...~98% FttP...")

            The reason for "more coalition clown spin about fibre rollouts instead..." is that the statement is in direct response to questioning about an alleged slowdown in this specific area, as explained in the article.
      • The ubiquitous communications platform for Oz for the 21st Century

        You don't get it do you?
        Do you actually understand what the difference in capability and opportunity the two options provide. ?. The GIMPCo minority FTTP will not provide the critical mass to empower innovation and services that it only can facilitate - justifying the claims of no value
        Abel Adamski
  • Nodes are a few years away.

    NO agreement has been reached with Telstra, with them holding all the aces in the deck Turnbull's poker hand looks weak. Then after purchase the network designer will have to commence the redesign before construction starts. Turnbull will still be promising nodes at the next election!
    Kevin Cobley
  • Failure written all over it.

    "NBN Co is proceeding; " at a snails pace, with no public oversight. Where is the proof except for words?

    "12,000 premises were passed last week." Premises passed??? Didn't Mal previouslt say that this term was misleading, and not to be used for indicating the progress of the rollout?

    "We have issued design instructions for more premises" Designing isn't the same as building. Speeding up designs is not what we want to see. Speeding up construction is!

    "twice as many premises to be passed by June 30 next year ". You can "pass" as many as you want, but if the connection is not available and active, it means didly squat.
  • Prove it Malcom!

    Most of us do not have access to the industry only maps, so all we get are areas already started. Without all the premises to be passed by June 30 next year on an actual map there is no proof.

    The public have a basic right to know where public money is being invested, my local council have more info on what roads they are upgrading than NBNco's roll out maps. I think Turnbull should resign, he's clearly not willing to do what the public expect.
  • Completely Misleading

    The entire point of the rollout was that it would get bigger over time. So, if anything, Mr Turnbull is claiming responsibility for groundwork NBNCo put in place under the Labor government. Amazing how some politicvians love to spin stories.

    He has yet to prove he can deliver anything at all, anyway. I wish him luck.
  • That was kind of the point Malcolm

    Talk about taking credit for other peoples homework. The rollout was always intended to ramp-up significantly. Is malcom trying to take credit for the NBN's original deployment plan he spent years lambasting?
  • No Australian child will lack 25 Mbps broadband by 2016 - Turnbull

    Yawn. Of course, by following the NBNCo project into its next phase ramp-up, more FTTP will be built in year two of the mainstream rollout than in year one.

    The fact is that within this limited area of the coalition-approved FTTP, there is utter bipartisan agreement that fibre to premises is the best and cheapest way to achieve at least 25 Mbps by 2016. (It happens to also make 1000 Mbps available on request, but certainly it achieves 25!)

    However, Mister Turnbull's legacy as Communications Minister will rest more on what he does about the next ten million premises.

    In parliament, the media and online, every day from April to September, 2013, he repeated his promise that no Australian child would lack 25 Mbps broadband by 2016, if we elected him.

    We watch his words and actions with ironic interest now that he is in government because of that promise.
  • 25mb by 2016

    Is not going to happen as they not started any thing yet
    If they started day after election it would be 75 fttn cabinets connected a day to the house and giving new modem to people and resetting they adsl/vdsl
  • How's that FTTN progressing?

    Considering he's achieve nothing to date other than providing jobs for his ex-Telstra cronies then falsely claiming credits for the previous Government's FTTN work is presently his sole claim to fame.
  • the party line...

    Turnbull tows the party line.. Sometimes I really think he doesn't want to!

    Now.. As for the rollout "speeding up"... As stated before, this has nothing to do with the current Government (they've only sat for like, 2 days.. How could they have done anything to speed it up...?). The rollout is currently proceeding on schedule, however, it will go little further after that I'm afraid (places like my area have been taken off of the list for future rollout, which was to happen within the next 3 years or so..), besides their FTTN policy.

    What FTTN does do, is provide a future ground work. From there on, once a more rational government is in place, it should be quicker and easier for them to roll out the optical fibre to premises. Unfortunately, it will be some time before we see this happen!

    What is happening now, is a disparity. For many years there will be properties which have the fibre to their buildings, and others that do not. Potentially this could affect housing and rental prices, however the faster capability of those already with FTTP will likely be "throttled" in accordance with the only available internet plans (a max within the 20M/bit range...sigh..).

    As for conditions of the copper network. In many places maintenance is substandard. Every so many years, the junction box which our house, and our immediate neighbours next door and across the street are connected with (the little white box on the telegraph pole, which connects to the underground telstra pit) has had problems every so many years. Simply because the plastic casing is damaged, and lets the weather in, speeding up corrosion of the contacts.
    When there is a problem, instead of replacing the plastic casing, and the corroded internal contacts, the telstra worker undergoes the high tech operation of applying a good piece of wet and dry...
  • more fibre..

    Also, more fibre will be passed by my lower colon this year then the NBN ever will.
  • Missing

    Hey guys, what's happened to Richard Flude? I haven't heard from him since the Libs were elected.


    He's not in Blacktown is he? Suspicions confirmed?