Pro-NBN National Day of Action is tomorrow



news Supporters of Labor’s all-fibre vision for the National Broadband Network project have organised a national day of action for Tuesday 26 November, which will see thousands of Australians physically present Members of Parliament with copies of a 270,000-strong petition on the issue.

Since the Coalition won power in September, a vigorous online movement focused on getting the new Abbott administration to abandon its own NBN policy and support Labor’s existing vision has been gaining force. Supporters of Labor’s vision argue that it will serve Australia’s long-term interests much better, as it features an all-fibre NBN, delivering a more reliable network and faster speeds.

The Coalition’s version of the NBN policy is expected to see part of Telstra’s existing copper network maintained, in what is termed a ‘fibre to the node’ deployment. The model has been extensively and successfully deployed in countries such as the UK, but Australian proponents of Labor’s policy have highlighted the fact that it offers limited speed boosts over currently available broadband in Australia (up to 100Mbps as a top-end limit), compared with Labor’s NBN, which will offer enhanced levels of reliability and speeds up to 1Gbps, coupled with significantly enhanced upload speeds.

Telecommunications industry experts have consistently stated that they believe Labor’s NBN policy to be highly technically superior to the Coalition’s more modest vision, and having the potential to deliver Australia superior long-term outcomes in terms of service delivery and boosting Australia’s economy through productivity gains.

In addition, questions have been raised about the extent to whether it’s possible to deploy the FTTN technology the Coalition is focused on in Australia and whether it will perform as the Coalition has claimed. There are also questions as to whether Telstra, which owns the copper network which would need to be used as part of the FTTN rollout, will consent to modify its existing $11 billion arrangement with the Labor Federal Government and NBN Co, along the lines the Coalition plans.

A petition placed on popular website on the issue following the election, demanding the Coalition reconsider the FTTN technology and focus on the superior FTTP option, garnered in excess of 270,000 signatures. It was set up by Queensland student Nick Paine.

It appears that Paine and a number of other pro-NBN activists are now taking the
initiative one step further. A website,, has been set up to encourage people to become “NBN Public Defenders”. It sells merchandise such as t-shirts supporting the NBN and includes graphics which other websites can use to support the cause.

As one of the site’s focuses, it states that on Tuesday 26 November, people across Australia will be “stepping up to demand a fibre to the premises NBN” and delivering the 270,000-strong petition to their local MP’s doorstop.

Visitors to the site are encouraged to enter their postcode. They are then directed to an individual Facebook event page which details how organisation is taking place to deliver the petition to their local MP.

The site has limited support thus far. For example, only five people listed themselves as planning to attend the electorate office of Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull tomorrow to deliver the petition. It was a similar case with other MPs.

However, the Australian Labor Party has already swung its support behind the campaign, which may help boost numbers. ALP National Digital Organiser Riley Broughton wrote an email to supporters on Saturday alerting them to the pro-NBN campaign.

Wrote Broughton: “I grew up in a suburban town outside of Wollongong where lots of people couldn’t even dream of getting the benefits of super-fast broadband. We were stuck with dial-up straight out of the twentieth century. An old copper network that would never let us become part of Australia’s future. But that all changed: I remember the day they announced my town would be getting Labor’s NBN.”

(Note: Broughton’s claim that ‘An old copper network … would never let us become part of Australia’s future’ is inaccurate, with most telecommunications analysts believing that using FTTN to upgrade Telstra’s copper network is a viable path forward for Australia’s broadband future. This model has been extensively used internationally, especially in Europe.)

“Labor started building fibre to nearly every home and with it, Australians would finally get the super fast broadband they deserved. We’d see the benefits to our health system, our education system and how it would help create the jobs of the future.”

“But now that’s all changed, Malcolm Turnbull’s precise plans for fraudband come out in 10 days when his review of the NBN Co is released. My town has already been wiped off the map, and we don’t know what’s coming next.”

“However, you and I can stand up for what we want: a passionate NBN community advocate, Nick Paine has organised events all across the country next Tuesday to show MPs that we want our NBN. Click here to find out an event near you.
We thought you would want a chance to stand up for what you believe in: the real NBN, not Turnbull’s fraudband.”

“Click here to find an event near you and take your chance to fight for the NBN.
With just 10 days left, it’s great to see that it’s not just us standing up for the real NBN but that there’s broader community support too. If we all stick together on this, we can show the Government what Australians really want.”

So far, the Coalition has not responded to the revelation of the national day of action for the NBN.


  1. As I have written elsewhere:

    As soon as you complete FTTN, demand will be right behind or have outpaced it. How do you meet demand then? As soon as you complete FTTN, you have to make a new investment in FTTP. How do you pay for the original investment then? FTTN, today, is a pointless exercise.

  2. In light of the recent Nielsen polling numbers, this MIGHT have a bit of momentum going with it. All Abbott knows is when all else fails, be Populist.

  3. “‘An old copper network … would never let us become part of Australia’s future’ is inaccurate, with most telecommunications analysts believing that using FTTN to upgrade Telstra’s copper network is a viable path forward for Australia’s broadband future.”

    Viable for how long? If 25Mbps is OK for 2016, how about 2026, or 2036? If there are large swathes of the Australian population still on 25Mbit copper in 2036, would we describe that as a successful policy? Yet that is exactly the risk we are taking with FTTN. fantasies aside, fibre is the unavoidable objective of Australian broadband policy. Not only do most telecommunications analysts believe this, even Turnbull says he does.

    In this case it seems viable equates to barely adequate for the present.

    • Hi Graham,

      experience is showing overseas that FTTN can be upgraded to FTTP when necessary. We see that pretty clearly in countries such as the UK. We’ve also seen pretty conclusively that FTTB in apartment buildings is a viable option.

      I’m sorry, but I’m not going to tolerate a FTTP versus FTTN debate in the comments of this article. If you or anyone else posts further comments debating that specific point, I will delete them. This article is about the campaign and I think that’s what people should be discussing here.


      • I think the campaign is as misleading as the debate over fttp v fttn.
        Most of the facts presented in the campaign in favour of keeping the original (and i note it seems to be repeated) ‘labor’ plan arent quite sound.
        There also have been questions for some time about Mr Paine’s actual motivations for doing this as people have described him as politically ambitious and whilst he claims to be a liberal voter, i don’t believe he’s actually registered with the party and theres also rumours his campaign/he have been courted by the opposition shortly after he launched his campaign.
        If any of this holds true then i fear the legitimacy of the campaign will just be another extension of the greater battle of misinformation that has been perpetrated before and during the election.
        As to misinformation now; well we dont have much information and Turnbull seems to have made a point of at least having the perception of trying to be factual (that is, in the information provided, ignoring the Fttp v Fttn debate)…

        To be fair i think this campaign and everything else needs to chillout for 30 days until the strategic review is announced and then go from there.

        • A difference of opinion is now a conspiracy? wow.

          I think people are expecting the review will somehow right wrongs. Which is odd.

  4. I don’t really get the plan, the website doesn’t explain it very well.
    Put in my area code, go to a facebook link (ugh) and then… What is going to happen at the meet up zone in your area? Is there a meeting arranged with the local member? Are they handing out stuff? Either I’m reading it wrong or it’s just not very clear :(

  5. [censored by Renai — see: ]

    Moving on..

    I don’t think the current government really cares about the polls at this point. Or popular opinion. Turnbull has already dismissed the petition as irrelevant.

    Ultimately, the Government is working towards a stop-gap solution. This is what will happen. Regardless.

    It will be up to future governments to decide if they are up to the task of funding a FTTN > FTTH deployment.

    • Turnbull has also contacted Nick Paine directly and asked him to be patient and wait for the outcome of the review. The claim was that the review would be the final word, independent, etc etc, and implied that FttP wasnt dead in the water.

      This is a continuation of the petition process, and a handy reminder that the review needs to deliver independently, or not be respected. Given the polls today, its a handy reminder to the Government that they cant rest on their laurels, and need to keep delivering if they want to avoid public backlash.

      Given the poll results today, I wonder how keen they would be on a double dissolution right now…

      • “Don’t rock the boat.”

        In some ways I agree – the review needs to be independent to find the best outcome.

        However, Turnbull lost all credibility in it being independant the moment he sought a panel that almost universally believes in a single outcome.

    • Please consider posting, at the end of the article, topics which we are not available for discussion. Even if they relate precisely to why the topic exists at all – it will save people time and effort.

      Thanking you.

      It will be interesting to see if Malcolm simply labels this as yet another militant, fringe effort from fibre wackos.

  6. I am “pro-NBN”.

    The LNP’s “NBN” is or will be “Pro-Telstra”, anti-choice and cherry-pickable.

    How do I know this? Because that is in the DNA of the LNP, allowing a hodge-podge of mini-monopolies to be created to deliver their little bit of competition – but only in their protected little patch.

    If the LNP were serious, they would come right out and simply state that ANY company could put a patch of fibre in, but they must allow full-speed un-contested backhaul access for any RSP, anywhere in Australia. That aint gonna happen, and once we start down that LNP Nirvana Road, we won’t be able to go back.

    I fear we will regret the 2013 election for generations to come!

    • I am sure it will never meet your definition of “success” regardless of how many turn up.

      • I might wander past the local members office (Sharon Bird, whos behind the “people want FttP back” story with ~200 comments), but as she’s being pretty proactive about it, there’s probably not much need to, outside of bumping up the numbers to show support for the idea.

        Which is as good a reason as any, and its only a couple of minutes away. But she’s definitely understanding of the issue, and definitely not being shy over it either. She does have a nifty little chunk to work with though, as she was the minister for regional comms (for all intents, Deputy Comms Minister), and does represent an area that the changing of the maps has impacted considerably.

        Wollongong had about 30 suburbs drop off the 1 year rollout map, with pretty much all of those slated to be RFS in the next 6 months.

        Free ammo for her (as per the other article), and tomorrow might be a busy day for her.

        • Providing your pro NBN member with ammo is a worthwhile cause. Especially if they are close.

          I’m pondering it, 2 hour drive to the “local member” though. McEwan division office is 50km north of melbourne, we’re 60km east of melbourne. Second most marginal labor seat (313votes) in the country, so noone Malcolm would listen to, but could provide motivation.
          Seems it would be more effective to show up on doorstep of the losing liberal candidate, given the state of communications in the division, it could well be what cost her the seat.

      • Unfortunaltely Harimau, I think it shows exactly the type of people we are trying to rationally correspond/deal with… and sadly they are all the same…

    • I’m sure you’ll agree Asmodai, that I am a very outspoken FttP supporter.

      FYI – I won’t be attending…


  7. If I’d known this was going to happen sooner I could have got time off work to attend. (Though in a safe Labor seat, it wouldn’t have mattered much). Maybe I can just print a copy out and mail it in.

  8. Yeah it’s kinda difficult to bugger off and attend when you work in a completely different area.

    Not that it matters, both my home and Work area are Labor seats.

  9. can we just get on with the NBN. I don’t believe the figures that the LNP keep putting forward , similar to our ” terrible state of finances ” which was bullshit and in the same way as this attack on the NBN is bullshit, just do it Turnbull and shut up.

    • he is doing it. the only people that wont shut up are the ones who lost the election.
      wonder how many of these protestors will get caught out taking a sicky and get fired. for wasting their time.

  10. I don’t understand why they’re trying to pull this off with such short notice. Is there something significant about the date? Could someone from the FTTP Action Group (or whoever organised this) clarify?

  11. We’ve seen this before. It was the “sorry” movement. With the help of the media they got hundreds of thousands of Australians to far more than the easy signing of an online petition, they got them to get out and march across bridges. But the polls consistently showed they were the minority not the majority.

    Yes, about 60% say they “support” a fibre NBN, but in fact less than 20% of both businesses and people think it will be any benefit to them.

    The NBN that would most benefit the country most and most Australians – rather than just benefitting the few who what fast high res video in their living rooms and porn in their bedrooms – would be a cost effective NBN that all Australians got. Not an expensive Rolls Royce one that will only to benefit the well-off few because the poor and sick and old won’t be able to afford it.

    • Perhaps the people who are protesting aren’t blind sheep, blinded by political ideology, therefore they can see that FttP is the only way to go for all Aussies…and they don’t say ridiculous things either…?

      Ridiculous things such as, suggesting spending $30.4B gov monies for FttP vs. $29.5B on a lesser, copper based FttN network, which is slower and will need upgrading and which in all likely hood will cost as much if not more (having privately owned, profit driven companies involved in network ownership) is cost effective?

      Or mentioning Rolls Royces or only benefitting the well off…(yes paying as much as $5K for a fibre to the connection is really going to help those struggling financially who would like the opportunity of faster speeds to perhaps improve their lot…


      I wish the petitioners well, but again people such as these are the faithful followers of the people you are trying to convince… what a shame.

    • The problem with your argument is that its based on “polls’ where these came from i have no idea but until the majority of people have access to fibre nbn they will never realize how it can benefit them.

      Not to mention if the majority of people have access to home fibre nbn it will push for more business to run services that can take advantage of these speeds.

      So yes take up of the network will take longer but once people realize what they can do the demand for bandwidth will explode.

      Its kinda like when they released tv most of the gurus were saying it wont ever be big or it wont last.

      How can any company develop new services or uses for high bandwidth fibre networks if they arent available ?

      Not to mention the cost savings are only from the inital cost as a FTTN is alot more expensive to maintain!

      • “business to run services that can take advantage of these speeds. ”

        Like what? What are these services that’ll make the average business run so much better?

        • How come you naysayers all sound the same? Instead of adding to the correspondences you just ask the same old silly questions…

          Of course when answered you bluntly ignore or dismiss the answer and keep asking the same already answered questions, over and over?

          “Broadband to account for AUD$1trillion of activity by 2050…

          … Ruthven did say that, from his perspective, the cost of the NBN “is not a lot of money and we should not be scared of it,” he said, adding that his own business cannot launch new products for lack of NBN-grade connectivity.”…

          Did you get that… “his own business cannot launch new products for lack of NBN-grade connectivity.”

          Whether you like the answer or not (obviously not) and whether you accept the answer or not (ditto) here is your answer from Mr Ruthven, i.e. someone who knows…!

          But of course, our new earth is flat government and a few of their ROT’s (thanks Jasmcd and Observer) would know better, eh?

          • As a small business owner, the NBN will do nothing to advance my business! Zip, zero!

            And by the way, the article you linked gave no details on what the services would be! Just “don’t be scared to build it because mining is slowing!”

          • Its a fair question kentlfc, but to answer it with specifics is nigh on impossible. All I can do to try and give an answer is rewind to 1999, when the same questions were asked about upgrading from dialup to ADSL (or cable).

            Most businesses didnt need more than dialup, because they had nothing more than the basic needs of a fax machine any maybe email. Maybe. The use of technology at the time didnt NEED anything better than 56k dialup to survive.

            Fast forward that a few years, and people asked the same about upgrading from ADSL to ADSL2. Their basic websites didnt need more than 2 Mbps, their staff emails didnt need more than that either.

            Today, the socially linked website, the online shopping carts, the online banking, social interaction, etc etc, all work perfectly fine on what we have. But you couldnt go backwards to a previous generation and be happy.

            This is how we’ve advanced. And like everything else, a platform is needed to advance more. What that advancement will actually look like is anyones guess, but every generation previously has built on what was there, to provide better services. Its called progress.

            It sounds stupid (and it is, dont know why I’m quoting it), but think Field of Dreams – if you build it, they will come. We’re saturating the current level of technology as a society, we need to move forwards. And when we do, there will inevitably be services that your business could leverage off.

            Does your business have a facebook page, or advertise online? Thats a result of everyone else connecting when ADSL2 became the default connection, and services creating opportunities. And whatever they turn out to be, the same new opportunities will arise with a faster connection for everyone.

          • It’s a fair question, coming from someone who hasn’t already asked and received the answer…

            You appear periodically to bless us (ahem) with such gem questions, get your answer, obviosly forget the answer and then return to ask the same question later…

            Nice work.

            NBN won’t help you… fine. Then either will FttN.

            So no NBN (or FttN) for anyone, even those who can see it will help them, because Kent won’t (or is n’t savvy enough to see) benefit?

            There easy…

            And by the way again – “his own business cannot launch new products for lack of NBN-grade connectivity.”

          • Actually you will probably find that as the NBN(whichever flavour) comes out you will receive more for your dollar, which might allow you to reduce your base outlay, if you don’t require the extra.

            Small business could be anything, and as such the specific benefits for you would be different dependant on what your small business is.

            Some small businesses will benefit from the improvements more than others, that is simply a reality. Some businesses benefit from better highways more than others too.

            I also find it interesting that people get stuck into the people who want to download movies or gamers etc.

            The Movie industry is huge, and the Gaming industry is now bigger. In the modern era the delivery mechanisms for these industries is changing to virtual very quickly. Even when said industry is resisting the attempts.

            So entertainment is a massive industry, why then is it a problem that something like the NBN will benefit it?

        • I am sick to death of people asking this bloody question!

          In any case the main advantage for a business would be upload speeds and improving their ability to publish content to the web or use cloud services to back-up data.

          • Trouble is, its a fair question thats not easy to answer. Think 2005, and trying to convince a business to upgrade to ADSL2. Could you imagine then that something so simple as Facebook would grow and integrate itself so completely into our personal and business lives?

            Or be able to explain to a small business why this would become important? Would online shopping be important to a business then? Hell, it seems its still not important to most Australian businesses today!

            So to see how someones businees would benefit isnt easy. Some its a natural fit, but for others, its hard to push because you just cant tell how society will move forwards, and what opportunities that will create.

            What you can do is look at how things moved after we went to ADSL and ADSL2, and how those opportunities are an everyday part of life now.

      • > Not to mention if the majority of people have access to home fibre nbn it will push for more business to run services that can take advantage of these speeds.

        Wishful thinking. The reality that Labor’s NBN plan was for 50% of fibre connections to be 12Mbps and the NBNCo Corporate Plan (2013) draft confirms this when it stated that in April 2013, 47% (and rising) of fibre connections were 12Mbps.

        Sure most people support Labor’s NBN plan because it doesn’t personally impact in a negative way, however when it comes time for people to act most are not.

        • The reality that Labor’s NBN plan was for 50% of fibre connections to be 12Mbps and the NBNCo Corporate Plan (2013) draft confirms this when it stated that in April 2013, 47% (and rising) of fibre connections were 12Mbps”

          No, you didn’t just mention that AGAIN…!

          But anyway how does the word reality fit in with a plan/estimation?

          And how does reality fit within…. no… I won’t say it ;)

          • My assumption is that he is not a real person but simply a program which searches the web for NBN and then posts that comment.

            No real person could be like this surely

          • Oh, they exist, dont worry. Its like others who never acknowledge the arguments around the financial commitment to the Government, and choose to mislead with irrelevant comparisons.

            What Matthew says is spot on, but very misleading – the expectation WAS for about 50% of connections to be at the lowest range, but that doesnt mean that was the limit of their connection. It is an option they CHOOSE, not a forced reality.

            And we’re not going to change his stance. I wouldnt worry about him, he’s not going to change the stance of someone who disagrees with him either.

        • 50% of plans would be 12mbps, but the underlying technology would support much faster, thus allowing for future growth, and for variation of service.

          Your comment is flawed

  12. All i can say is nick paine is an idiot he voted liberal destroying nbn and is now trying to save it what a crackpot!

  13. I sent my wife down. The organisations a bit poor.

    A) You need a Facebook account. Something I don’t use.
    B) Looking at the FB page, the times are often not in local time and the address maps are incorrect in a lot of cases.

    But full marks for doing something! I’d go, but I missed my local event.

  14. Well Luke Simpkins was a washout. He was too busy to accept the petition apparently and sent a staffer out instead. He also rescinded any right to use the photo of the staffer accepting the petition.

    Bah humbug.

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