Clare tables NBN petition in Parliament


news Shadow Minister for Communications Jason Clare yesterday presented to Federal Parliament the signatures of 272,000 Australians who want the new Coalition Government to build Labor’s all-fibre version of the National Broadband Network instead of the technically inferior version which is currently being proposed.

Since the Coalition won power in September, a vigorous popular social movement focused on getting the new Abbott administration to abandon its own broadband policy and support Labor’s more ambitious National Broadband Network 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.

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 based on using Fibre to the Node and HFC cable delivery mechanisms, as well as having the potential to deliver Australia superior long-term outcomes in terms of service delivery and boosting Australia’s economy through productivity gains.

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, has garnered in excess of 272,000 signatures, with tens of thousands more Australians putting their names to the issue every day.

Yesterday, Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare tabled in Parliament a full copy of the 272,000 signatures on that petition (see photo above).

A statement issued by the Labor MP said that before the election, the Liberal Party promised to build a second rate broadband network – a pale imitation of Labor’s National Broadband Network. “Now they are not even doing that,” it added, referring to the fact that the Coalition’s broadband policy appears to have changed substantially since the election, including the re-use of the HFC cable networks operated by Telstra and Optus for up to a third of Australian premises.

“The NBN is effectively dead. The Liberal Party is not building a National Broadband Network. They are building a series of different networks with different speeds, different capacities and different technologies,” Clare said. “Malcolm Turnbull calls his model the MTM – the Multi Technology Model. I suspect MTM will end up standing for Malcolm Turnbull’s Mess.”

Under Labor, 93 percent of Australian homes and businesses would receive a super-fast fibre broadband connection to their premises. Under “Under Malcolm Turnbull’s Mess,” Clare said, 24% will get fibre to their home; 31% will get fibre to a box in the street; 11% will get fibre to a box in the basement of their apartment; 27% will get broadband from the Pay TV cable in their street; 4% will get broadband through fixed wireless; and 3% will get broadband from satellite services.

“What kind of broadband you get is pot luck. It’s a lucky dip.”

The news comes as a new comprehensive study of public attitudes towards Labor’s National Broadband Network project published this month found the initiative still enjoys very high levels of widespread public support from ordinary Australians, despite what the study described as an “overwhelmingly negative” approach to the project by print media such as newspapers.

When asked ‘Do you have a positive or negative opinion of the National Broadband Network in general?’ respondents expressed an overwhelmingly positive opinion. 26.1 percent responded with “very positive”, 38.2 percent responded with “positive”, 14.8 percent responded with “neutral”, and only 12.6 percent and 8.3 percent responded with “negative” or “very negative”, respectively.

The analysis also considered whether political affiliation would produce any difference in attitudes to the NBN, by asking ‘Which party did you vote for in the 2010 election?’ Respondents who voted for the Liberal and/or National Parties at the 2010 election had a more negative opinion of the NBN than Australian Labor Party (ALP) voters, with ALP voters twice as likely as Liberal voters to hold very positive opinions on the NBN. However, NBN support amongst Liberal voters was still very strong, with 48 percent of that voting base supporting the project.

A number of other surveys conducted over the past 2-3 years have consistently shown strong support for the NBN project amongst Australians, and even Coalition voters.

Image credit: Office of Jason Clare


  1. And the Liberals capacity to care can fit inside a matchbox.

    Without taking out the matches first…

  2. Love that “Malcom Turnbull’s Mess” quote.

    I think we don’t have to wait for it to be commomplace – let’s use it whenever.

  3. Yup, watch it go no where.

    It’s funny (or maybe not…) because given that the signatures have been tabled by the shadow coms minister, you would expect that people would start to have hope now that its finally gotten into parliament. The peoples views are finally being properly represented in a democratic process, where the issue will be debated with integrity and where factual evidence and the whole truth are used to support/negate arguments. Everyone knows that this won’t happen though. We would be lucky to even have the government acknowledge the signatures or the concerns that have been presented by the shadow MP.

    • The peoples views are finally being properly represented in a democratic process, where the issue will be debated with integrity and where factual evidence and the whole truth are used to support/negate arguments.

      Given the LNP government couldn’t do this in opposition instead opting for three word slogans to win debates, it’s fairly obvious that nothing is going to change in the next three years.

      The FTTN rollout will barely get off the ground in this term of government and I expect that when Labor takes a full fibre rollout policy to the next election the Liberals are again going to look like stone age knuckle scrapers.

      I guess this is very dependent on whether there’ll be much of an Australia left after “wrecking ball” Tony, “sloppy” Joe, and “no longer capable of forward thinking” Malcolm are finished with more vote buying middle class welfare (a la John Winston Howard) at the expense of our economic future.

  4. The way things are (not) going Malcom Turnbull’s Mess will not even get started till just before the next election at which time the coalition will go to the election finally promising fiber to the home and make out it was their idea, because their going to have to pull something out of a hat at that stage to even get a look in.
    Sounds crazy doesn’t it but not out of the realms of possibility.

  5. It’s funny that as Clare was tabling the petition I was writing an article about how the NBN is dead.

    It’s true though, the change in language, the refusal to answer pertinent questions, and the refusal to accept hard data show there’s only one end to all this: the death of the NBN.

  6. I wish that Labor had designed an MTM model and the LNP had come along and stacked their review in the favour of FTTP. Tell me that would not have happened…
    I don’t get it. How can one man with a big negative Labor chip on his shoulder piss our money away like this? What for? For a grudge? Because his hand-picked mates are nodding and winking to their co-investors? Where is the logic in this arrogant political decision?

      • Yeah, there were discussions. Which John Howard simply ignored and then decided to sell Telstra off and do nothing about.

  7. You didn’t vote for a Network to be built, you voted for TPP, Cracking down on Piracy etc.

  8. The NBN is not simply about delivering faster methods for downloading a movie from Netflix. It presents an opportunity to construct a new digital industry in Australia. We NEED to attract new business and initiate new markets because our entire economy is a one trick pony, we sell rocks to China. The problem with this one trick pony is that sooner rather than later all you end up doing is flogging a dead horse.

    If the government is serious about jobs and growth it needs to invest in growth market opportunities instead of stifling the digital marketplace because Tony’s Murdoch mate’s can’t compete on the open free web. Instead the Liberal government wants to raid the retirement savings of Australians to pay for botched projects that won’t deliver a return on the investment. Build new marketplace infrastructure and it WILL attract new business.

  9. I could easy get the signatures of 272,000 people who want a free lunch. I reckon I could get even more from people who want a free $10,000,000. Absolutely ridiculous!

    • The problem with that argument is that is based on assumption, rumors, spreading misinformation etc?

    • Or even 272,000 people who want their country’s government to enable them to compete in the developing world economics on a level playing field now instead of holding them back for a few decades…

      What is the problem with the Liberal Party leadership and the Telecommunication field? From Richard Alston to Malcolm Turnbull and everyone in the middle, they can just never get it…

    • Can you get the largest petition ever for something that people will have to pay for such as the NBN?

      With the Govt saying we need to move to more niche manufacturing and technology/knowledge based industries of the future, they intend to just extend the 1990’s networks and say they will do for the next 10 years. They then mumble (and NOT COMMIT) to minor technology updates that are yet to be released where the companies who developed them say they are just to extend the life of a network a bit further..

      Lets just hope that they come back to a FTTP plan for Australia’s sake.

  10. Sadly the “vigorous popular social movement” is not as vigorous as 272k people actually walking on to parliament.

  11. The only reason I can see for the Coalition’s stance on the NBN is wink/nod guarantees given to Murdoch in order to get his support during the election. That, and the many journalists who toe the Murdoch line even if not employed by Murdoch, because maybe one day they will be seeking a job from him.

    In other words, it’s ideological for sure, but also the result of a faustian pact to win govt, shared by many in the media

  12. Malcolm Turnbull’s Mess- has a delightful ring to it. It should bu pushed in every way, every day.

  13. Hopefully, people are realising that the issue of telecommunications IS worth voting over and can influence the outcome of elections.

    World Internet traffic in 2017 will be four times what it is now. The world is online more than ever before. The economic ramifications for productivity as well as economic growth more broadly are factors that can no longer be ignored. This is about national competitiveness.

    Where are the thriving, relevant industries today, in the absence of a mining boom? I think you’ll find that a lot of them are online or largely facilitated by the online world.

  14. We have broadband here, with the mode being 4Km away.Download speed yesterday was 11Mbps, upload speed 0.7Mbps.Make of that what you will.Its shit.

  15. How many of the 272,000 are prepared to pay for the fibre to home option. I suspect not many, they want it paid for with borrowed money to be paid for by their kids and grand kids to come. If it is needed by an individual as part of there job then buy it like a laptop or company car. Why have the ordinary taxpayer pay that only rquire 25Mb/sec

    • Come on man, we’ve been over this.

      The NBN is user-pays. Users pay for services on the NBN, the revenue is used to repay the investment over several years (to 2040, if I recall correctly). The repayment is spread out (over millions of users – those who use it more, paying more – those who don’t want it not paying for it) and stretched out (over a couple decades). This means that people don’t individually have to stump up $5000, they can pay $30 a month (wholesale charge) – for example.

      Are the 272,000 prepared to pay $30 or more a month? Yes. Them and millions more.

      This is the same user-pays model as the CBN (Coalition’s Broadband Network), so really, your argument is “let’s do nothing about broadband at all”.

      Furthermore, your argument is actually an argument against getting a mortgage on a house. Do you have a mortgage, have you had a mortgage, or do you ever intend to get one?

      Should we not have it now because we can’t pay for it in full today?

    • How many of the 272,000 are prepared to pay for the fibre to home option?
      I’ll tell you how many: All of them.
      Every single one of them expects to pay monthly access fees for a FTTP service.

    • How many of the millions of people who drive cars are prepared to pay out of pocket for the construction of roads, bridges, tunnels, and similar infrastructure? Because that’s what the NBN is, it’s *infrastructure*. And every single one of us already pays for critical infrastructure in the form of taxes.

      If you don’t think it’s appropriate for the government to use taxes to fund the construction of essential national infrastructure…then I don’t even know where to begin. Enjoy driving on those roads that magically appeared out of nowhere and that nobody paid for.

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