Labor MP slams new NBN roll-out plans

Labor MP slams new NBN roll-out plans

Summary: The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) has come under criticism from Labor MP Ed Husic, who says that the new roll-out sites focus too much on new housing estates and expanding existing roll-out locations.

TOPICS: NBN, Broadband

The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) has come under criticism from Labor MP Ed Husic, who says that the new roll-out sites focus too much on new housing estates and expanding existing roll-out locations.

NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley indicated yesterday that NBN Co had chosen the next 28 sites on the basis of the availability of exchange space, expanding original release sites and greenfield sites. The Federal member for Chifley today took aim at the company charged with rolling out the government's $35.9 billion project, stating that it isn't living up to the project's objective.

"NBN Co is making a big deal out of rolling out broadband in new estates where people haven't even moved in, while down the road people are tearing their hair out to get ADSL or decent wireless access," he said.

"I don't begrudge new areas getting access — I'm happy for them. But how do you explain NBN Co's priorities to residents in Woodcroft and Doonside, who are struggling to get decent internet access?

"It seems to me NBN Co is just reaching out for easy targets, hugging geographic areas within close proximity of exchanges."

The Labor backbencher, who represents outer western Sydney suburbs, such as Doonside, Minchinbury and Mount Druitt, said that suburbs in his own electorate are struggling with problems of exchanges being overcrowded.

"Network access is so congested and so bad in parts of Woodcroft; residents tell me they sometimes have to wait for someone to move out of the suburb before an existing resident can get ADSL access," he said. "On top of that, residents have told me time after time that wireless services are slow or unreliable.

"Businesses in Woodcroft Shopping Centre have told me about how their work is affected by a lack of quality internet access — and they're surprised that the internet access they take for granted elsewhere in Western Sydney can't be duplicated in Woodcroft."

Husic said that he will argue the case for Doonside and Woodcroft to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, and plans to raise the matter formally with the minister.

Husic is a member of the Joint Committee on the National Broadband Network, scheduled to have two days of hearings at the beginning of next week. NBN Co is set to appear before the committee on Monday. He is also the first Federal Labor MP to air criticism of the sites chosen yesterday, but finds an unlikely ally in the Victorian government, which has complained about the lack of Victorian sites in the new announcement. Liberal MP Paul Fletcher has also panned yesterday's announcement, suggesting that safe Liberal electorates were neglected in favour of marginal seats and those held by Labor and Independent MPs.

Topics: NBN, Broadband


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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  • Well he is right, they have largely restricted the victorian sites to ones located close to melbourne from what I have seen and I though that this was a kick in the pants for the more regional people who lack the same access and equity of Melbourne
  • I find it very hard to understand why the establishment of NBN takes precedence over all the other projects urgently requiring repair or implementation in this once, wonderful country.
    Labor is notorious for its inability to handle money and where to place it.
    If only Menzies would reincarnate or the Howard/Costello partnership return.
    Instead we are lead by a bunch of lunatic losers.
    • err, not sure what planet you are living on but they havn't. And to quote howard after you quoted infrastucture investment makes me laugh very much.
    • @Perthite, seriously we are here to correspond about the nbn, please leave your bias and extremism out of the conversation...
  • Unfortunately, I think there will be a few of these arguments in times to come. In a project of this importance, there is sure to be many "me first" comments...
    • It is interesting to note that considering the Libs/Nats opposition to the NBN, they are falling over each other to get their electorates connected. Their only real opposition has been to accuse Labor (through NBNCo) of pork-barrelling, cos God only knows, they don't actually have a communications policy.
  • It's Telstra's fault these areas are so bad, with there RIMs ect. So I see the MP's point. I'm not complaining, I'll take it when i get it, I'm so looking forward to telling Telstra to get lost.
    • Ritzo90, why is it Telstra's fault? Telstra's only responsibility for all residences up until the NBN was to provide standard working phone line (voice) to meet government requirements. It has never been required to provide everyone with a broadband service. Why haven't you pointed the finger at other providers such as Optus!
      • And in essence your comment explains why the Lib/Nat plan of relying on private investment to fix our broadband is completely ridiculous: we've been relying on it for years and it hasn't worked at all.

        Sure, those in high-profitable metro areas have more choices than they can poke a stick at, but anyone living outside the densely populated metro areas has been told "you're only entitled to a working phone line". Bring on the NBN... and speed up the damn rollout.
  • I am so happy to see the NBN rollout get under way at full speed. 100mbs to any server in any country just opens up the global village. It is no wonder everyone is saying me too!
    Knowledge Expert
    • Only a very small percentage of people could afford or would need 100mbs a few gamers the odd movie buff and of coarse big business the banks will love it. The rest of us are probably very happy with 1500/256 BB. I know people happy with dial up. Shocking waste of money.
      • And I know heaps of people who would really love to have the ability to stream movies, TV and other high bandwidth content without it lasting for about an hour before exceededing download limits and waiting till nextmonth. I'm sure there were plenty of people happy with newspapers instead of radio, radio instead of TV, copper instead of fibre optic and so on. I find it incredulous that people would obstruct developments in technology simply because 'that's how we used to do it so it can stay the same now.' Try being reliant on the rediculous cost of wireless internet before condemning the nbn as a waste of money.
      • Yeah to bad gaming is latency dependant and not download dependant, throws your 100mb curve ball out the window.
      • Yeah to bad gaming is latency dependant and not download dependant, throws your 100mb curve ball out the window.
      • I recently added an Optus femtocell to improve reception around my house, which is in a mobile near-dead zone like much of Melbourne. The femtocell relies on a fast upchannel and downchannel to carry calls via VoIP, which is normally fine over cable. However, the other day I was uploading a 1GB video file to a remote server and it took nearly 10 hours to complete. During this time, every aspect of my Internet usage was slowed and the femtocell was unable to communicate with the network with enough bandwidth to carry its VoIP calls – which meant mobiles would home onto its five-bars signal and then stop working altogether.

        If you think it's only gamers that need good and reliable bandwidth, you're not thinking big enough.
      • I invite you to make that comment in 5 years. No vision whatsoever.
  • So much for the Labor and Independents promise to focus more on regional areas as well. All of the areas listed would hardly qualify as regional or rural, yet they are all there set to get access to the NBN despite other Australians in far worse positions. Honestly, Woolongong and the Illawarra? The usual old analogy comes to mind time after time NSW = Newcastle, Sydney & Woolongong. I tend to agree with what Ed Husic is saying, why target locations that don't have a need for the NBN yet (green fields) and why target locations with good service and competition? Truly an abhorrent decision by Labor & NBNCo.
    • Targeting green field is a sensible and right decision. Why put new coppers in when you know it is going to be replaced by fibre in not too distance future? Copper now and fibre later is just doubling the work.
      • Absolutely. Doing extra work would be a waste. Laying the fibre while the pits are being built is cheaper and NBN Co is guaranteed income from said premises which then pays for roll-outs to other areas which could marginally lower the national roll-out cost.

        Clearly Husic doesn't understand that so for the good of the project he should keep his mouth shut.
    • The team doing greenfields prep work is completely different from the brownfields rollout contractors. Different skill sets, in some cases, because the greenfields crews generally don't have to dig the ditches - these are pre-laid by the developer.

      Ed Husic knows all this of course - the claims are pure populism, but well grounded in generating popular enthusiasm for the project (heck, if the Libs are jumping on the "me first!" bandwagon, why should the ALPers miss out on the fun?)