Two thirds of Australians support the NBN


news A new study has found that two thirds of Australians support the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network project, with most planning to connect to the network when it’s connected to their premises, as the project continues to experience high levels of popularity on a sustained basis over several years.

The study, entitled The Internet in Australia (and available online in full in PDF format), was published this month by Swinburne University of Technology’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, and examined Australian attitudes to the Internet. It surveyed 1,001 Australians in 2011, with two thirds of that sample located in urban areas and one third in rural areas, including a mix between men and women and age groups ranging from 18 years and all the way up to retirement age. The study was part of a bigger investigation, the World Internet Project, which was initiated by researchers at the University of California.

Among other queries, the study asked those surveyed to respond to the following question: ‘Do you think the development of the National Broadband Network is a good idea?’ According to the report, 35 percent strongly agreed with the proposition, and 32 percent agreed. Some 13 percent sat in the middle with an answer of ‘neither’, while 13 percent disagreed, and 7 percent strongly disagreed.

A similar survey taken in 2009, when the NBN policy was in its infancy, found that a higher percentage – 43 percent – strongly afreed, while 32 percent agreed, 17 percent sat in the middle, and 5 percent and 4 percent disagreed and strongly disagreed respectively. This may indicate that the Coalition’s ongoing criticism of the NBN has had some impact on the project’s popularity, with the amount of Australians strongly agreeing with the project slipping, although the project as a whole remains popular with the majority of Australians.

A second question was asked: ‘Do you intend to connect to the NBN when it is available in your area?’ 32 percent said “definitely”, and a further 24 percent said “probably”, while seven percent said “possibly”. Seven percent said “probably not”, while 13 percent said “definitely not”. This represents the fact that the majority of Australians expect to connect to the NBN infrastructure when it’s rolled out in their area. However, it remains unclear whether those who do not plan to connect to the NBN were aware that Australia’s current copper telephony and broadband network is to be switched off as the NBN is deployed, as is the current HFC cable networks operated by Telstra and Optus, leaving users in most areas with little option but to connect to the NBN eventually, unless they wish to use mobile broadband networks (which offer reduced latency and bandwidth compared to the NBN’s fibre infrastructure) as their primary broadband connection.

“There is still strong support for the NBN,” the report stated. “Just over two thirds of Australians now think the development of Labor’s National Broadband Network is a good idea, down from three quarters in 2009 … there is wide agreement that the development of the NBN is a good idea.”

The news comes several months after an independent review commissioned by the Federal Government found that rural and regional Australian communities were strongly committed to the NBN, with a focus on maximising the potential of the infrastructure when it arrives in their area. The review’s findings echo a recent analysis of rural media coverage following the announcement of the three-year rollout plan for the NBN, which showed overwhelming demand for the infrastructure from a large number of rural and regional Australian communities, with many expressing disappointment that they had been left off the list for the NBN’s first few years.

The popularity of the NBN in rural areas is consistent with polling figures which have consistently shown high levels of popular support for the project Australia-wide. In February, for example, a poll released by research houses Essential Media and Your Source showed that the NBN policy has continued to enjoy strong levels of popularity, especially amongst Labor and Greens voters, since the last Federal Election.
The pair polled their audience with the following question: “From what you’ve heard, do you favour or oppose the planned National Broadband Network (NBN)”? The response displayed an enduring level of support for the NBN, with 56 percent of total respondents supporting the NBN in total, compared with 25 percent opposed and 19 percent stating that they didn’t know.

Just 10 percent of those polled strongly opposed the NBN, while 20 percent strongly favoured the project. Amongst Labor and Greens voters who responded to the poll, support was the strongest, with 80 percent and 77 percent supporting the initiative, 42 percent of Coalition voters supported it. Over the past 14 months since September 2010, Your Source has asked respondents the same question on three other occasions, with respondents displaying a very similar support rate for the project — ranging from 48 to 56 percent. Those opposing the project have ranged from 19 percent of respondents to 27 percent.

This data was largely echoed in April, when another similar poll showed support for the initiative continues to grow to record levels. According to the polling data, in total, 42 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Liberal or National voters stated that they were in favour of the NBN, while 40 percent in total opposed the project and the remaining 18 percent didn’t know. Of that 42 percent, eight percent were strongly in favour of the Labor plan, with 34 percent being in favour, and of the 40 percent against, 14 percent strongly opposed the NBN, with 26 percent opposing it. Amongst Labor and Greens voters, the numbers are much more strongly in favour of the NBN, with 80 percent of Labor voters and 68 percent of Greens voters for the plan, and with a much higher proportion of those polled being strongly in favour.

A landmark report handed down in July 2011 into the Coalition’s loss in the 2010 Federal Election also highlighted a failure to adequately respond to Labor’s flagship National Broadband Network plan as a key reason for losing valuable votes, especially in the sensitive Tasmanian electorate, which is receiving the network before the rest of the nation.

In May I wrote:

“An overwhelming body of evidence is gradually being accumulated that Australia’s population as a whole is staunchly in support of the NBN. Views on this matter are not divided; research has consistently shown that the policy is very popular and that most Australians in all areas agree the project should go ahead.

Now, I’m not going to say that the Coalition has to do everything the population says, should it win government. Clearly, sometimes a Government needs to enact an unpopular policy because it’s the right thing to do. But such overwhelming support does mean that the Coalition needs to produce a higher burden of proof for why the NBN policy as a whole should be substantially modified.”

These comments still stand.


  1. Was this poll commissioned by the Union-Labor Government, or do you really expect us to believe in the tooth fairey.

  2. I don’t think Abbott has left himself any room to change his position on the NBN. If he believes it is the white elephant he claims it is and it will cost people three times as much to use it as he claims it will then I don’t see how he can support it. As with the carbon tax and the mining tax, I think he’s painted himself into a corner on the NBN.

    On the other hand, Turnbull has said so many things he could probably change to supporting the NBN without appearing too much of a hypocrite. I don’t believe he will be allowed to do this though.

  3. I continually say this, Come on Mr Turnbull! you know, and we know you know, that the NBN as it is now is exactly what this country needs to move forward into the future. The NBN is pretty much the only policy the government can sell. Just support it and you will be guarenteed to win the election

  4. Did they ask any five year olds? A London Telegraph article reports 81% of five year olds have access to the internet; 71% of those over 75 have never used it.

    Which demographic is the NBN’s target market?

    • Statistically, nearly 100% of five year olds eventually become adults, whereas about 100% of 71 year olds become dead. Sooner than the 5 year olds become adults.

      So the answer to your trolling is: the 5 year olds. Peace.

      • Bingo! You ARE a clever Vegemite. That is EXACTLY the point I was making.

        In other words, support for the NBN is understated by the survey.

      • I wouldn’t call it trolling. As pointed out it makes more sense to ask younger people what they think on this topic. Afterall i was 18 when I discovered the internet at uni. Most people thought it was a useless tool and never used it. Nearly 20 years later, look how things have changed. Add another 20 years and the majoprity of people who don’t use it will be dead, yet the 5 years old will be out working.

        • Perhaps referring to five year olds was too deep for some. But the survey (not surprisingly) only interviewed adults. Nevertheless the NBN is more relevant to younger people who would have firm and useful opinions on the issue.

          But they weren’t surveyed.

          • And yet they represent the adults of tomorrow who will benefit from an intelligent policy.

  5. Why dont they tell the public what percentage of there tax is supporting such a large infastructure investment. Everyone wants a new car….few can afford to justify paying for it. I’ve read the sample group and the questions and the questions a re geared to give positive answers hoping the sheep of society will get on board.

    • “Why dont they tell the public what percentage of there tax is supporting such a large infastructure investment.”

      I’m sure I’ve read this exact same sentence on andrew bolts blog.

      “the questions a re geared to give positive answers hoping the sheep of society will get on board.”

      Those ones you call ” the sheep of society” represent the majority in favor of the NBN. Time to build yourself a bridge and get over it. The majority will always be in favor of it. It must feel like acid in your mouth knowing that there are people out there that disagree with you.

    • “geared to give positive answers hoping the sheep of society will get on board”

      You seem to have got on board the LNP half truths and lies, baaaa!

    • “Why dont they tell the public what percentage of there tax is supporting such a large infastructure investment” — because I’m in a generous mood, I’ll bite.

      There are two answers. One, if you accept the globally accepted practice of CAPEX being off budget, is 0%. No tax dollars will be lost under Labor for this investment. That answer WILL change if the Liberals get into power and execute their private enterprise policy. Liberals fault if that happens, not Labor.

      The second answer, if you incorrectly believe that the CAPEX should be ON budget, is approximately 1% per annum. That, admitedly is an approximation, based around $3b per annum over 10 years – $4b p.a takes it to about 1.2%.

      What it doesnt take into account is the $amount per annum that will be generated by the network by the time its done. At that point, the answer gets back to 0%, and in reality becomes a negative percentage as it starts to recoup the ~1% lost in previous years.

      Which answer do you want? The one where it costs nothing, or the one where it returns the expenses and makes a profit? Oh, both are under Labor. The LNP gives neither of those low cost plans as an option, it costs however many billions they spend, while getting none back.

    • Under the Labor NBN, we’ll actually get $142 BACK.

      Under the Liberal “NBN”, we’ll PAY $1000 each (every man, woman AND child)…

      Hope that clears things up for you?

  6. It beggars belief that the coalition continues to poison its otherwise certain electoral prospects by positioning itself as the “anything but fibre” party.

    As far as we can tell, the coalition policy is to deliver an “NBN” that will (a) scrap the $12 billion fibre-laying component that future-proofs 93% of all premises; and (b) build an FTTN infrastructure of 70,000 large, fan-cooled cabinets at intervals of less than 1 km in residential streets, that we already know costs at least $11 billion (2009 figures) and puts customers back onto Telstra copper.

    Given the problematic council approval process for near-end-of-life new FTTN cabinets, it will never actually happen.

    The NBN is the right project, even Malcolm Turnbull now supports its project funding model, and it is future proof and cheaper than FTTN. The coalition must adopt it as bipartisan.

    Much Labor and cross bench support will flow to coalition candidates, if and only if the electorate truly believes that the coalition will build the NBN. If they do not, then we face exactly the scenario with Peter Reith documented in his post mortem of the coalition failure to win the unloseable 2010 poll.

    For now, some Liberal and Nationals financial supporters are even withholding campaign donations, citing the intransigence on fibre as the reason they will not support the party if it is determined to lose again.

    • i think i will Ignore Individuals who Insist on dIsplaying theIr Insistence on Incorrectly using theIr i s thereby IndIcatIng theIr sIllIness…

  7. paragraph 5 ” mobile broadband networks (which offer reduced latency”
    wireless has higher latency (which is bad).

    It’s funny how i don’t even know if what i would say regarding the NBN now. while i disagreed with it at first, I grudgingly support it now, after all of those contracts are signed. finishing the project is less waste than half finishing it. i think the only real complaint now is the abysmal speed of the roll-out, especially when compared to the projections. how they ever thought they would make those projections, even without delays, is beyond me, and they didn’t even guess that there might be delays?

    (for the record I did, and still do think, it would be better to go to 87-90% fibre, 7-10% wireless and 2% satellite. those last few percent really drive up the price)

    • Not sure what your percentage split of fibre/wireless/satellite is based on, can you provide figures on what your extra wireless component will add to the cost of the NBN?

      • currently its 93% fibre, 5% wireless 2% satellite

        i always thought the initiall rollout would be better as less fibre more wireless. probably not any more satellite. easier and faster to lay cable to one wireless tower than to each person in low density areas, and they are largely the ones most in need.

        • @robotclone

          You might have thought it would be easier and faster. As did the original idea from Labor- 90% fibre, 10% wireless/sat. Then they did the implementation study which RECOMMENDED they go to 93% fibre, 4% wireless and 3% satellite.

          That is why they did so.

  8. Ludicrous. Popularity? I have never met someone with an NBN connection in my life, and the NBN has been around for years.

    If FFTP is the best solution going forward, then we have to change the management at the NBN Co. Does anyone think NBN Co. has done a good job?

    • “I have never met someone with an NBN connection in my life, and the NBN has been around for years.”

      Speaking of “ludicrous” things this statement is exactly that.

      “If FFTP is the best solution going forward, then we have to change the management at the NBN Co.”

      Come to think of it so is this one.

      “Does anyone think NBN Co. has done a good job?”

      Yes. Thanks for stopping by.

      • you have to admit the estimates they have given are waaaay off. at the very least they don’t know how to plan for uncertainty, which is a huge part of what planning is. i think the NBN has a really good case for importing foreign workers on temporary visas which expire on project completion (whenever that will be), but it hasn’t even been discussed, and it should have. it is generally considered poor management not to try and fix problems, and the main problem with NBN is speed of rollout, and so far they have done nothing other than add time to their original plan.

        • The speed of rollout? The rollout was DELAYED. It has nothing to do with speed of rollout now that it has started.

          • i think rollout speed is half of malcolm turnbulls current problem with the NBN. just because its ‘back on track’ (which time will tell one way or the other) does not mean we can’t look for ways to speed up the deployment.

          • Which they have by finally doing the sensible thing when it comes to infrastructure roll outs – “opt out”

            The whole sham arguments of the “opt out” taking away choice was quite facetious as best. That’s like arguing against installation of electricity and sewage to your home. Their all utilities that will eventually be needed and are part of building costs already.

          • I think Malcolm Turnbull would be saying the rollout was slow if it was going to finish next week. If you want to say it slow, support it with believable numbers. MT has the habit of taking figures 3 months into the rollout, interpolating them back to 2009 when the trials started and saying “See, they only do 4 a day”
            If he could provide believable numbers and not have to really on dodgy use of these figures don’t you think he would? And then he may have a case. Without pulling those dodgy tricks the rollout seems to be progressing nicely to plan, the started delay by six months, yes, but from the start of rollout the progress seems to be good.

          • “and the main problem with NBN is speed of rollout, and so far they have done nothing other than add time to their original plan.”

            “i think rollout speed is half of malcolm turnbulls current problem with the NBN.”

            What is the emergency? What is the rush? So there really is such a demand for 100/40mbps connections that we need to rollout FttH to as many people as possible as quick as we possibly can after all? You really have to keep in mind Turnbull is the one who said 12mbps is enough for anyone so these delays should be irrelevant to him. He shouldn’t even be bringing them up unless he wants to look like a hypocrite. Of course it’s very convenient now that his tune has changed a bit and his new number is “up to 80mbps” he can point out the delays of NBNco and not look as foolish. So yes faster speeds are imperative and it is IMPERATIVE that we get it done as quickly as possible to as many people as possible. Just not the speeds NBNco are talking about. There’s a coalition clown sweet spot just above the current average and just below the current maximum NBNco is selling. Amazing that the magical number nobody needs anything faster than is what his VDSL FttN patchwork plan would be only capable of… yep anymore than that we’ll never need because Turnbull said so…

          • many people don’t have 12mbps. many struggle to get 6, or 3. i live within about 500 metres of university of Queensland and i have 6994kbps downstream . 12mbps would be WONDERFUL. and many would be happy with my 6994. getting people to 12mbps IS imperative. getting stable connections IS IMPERATIVE. getting people beyond 12mbps IS NOT. FTTP is the best solution due to stability, not due to speed.

            with that said, we can always look for ways to increase the rollout speed. for all the things the coalition says that are wrong (and they do say an awful lot of wrong things), the NBN should be working out how to increase the rollout speed (not to say they aren’t behind closed doors, but they aren’t publicly.) (and the only real way i can think of increasing the rollout speed is by hiring more people to lay cable etc.)

          • What you’ve forgotten to include at the end of all your sentences is “right now”. Maybe one person doesn’t need a 100Mb connection. Maybe even a family of seven doesn’t need a 100Mb connection. … right now. The NBN is about the FUTURE, though, not about the PRESENT. The problems you talk about exist in the present and will eventually go away when the NBN rolls out. All you need is a little patience…
            …and that’s difficult, I know. Human brains are inherently wired to place a higher value on things they can get “now” rather than “later”. If I recall correctly, it’s called “hyperbolic discounting”.
            If you really feel that you are suffering under your current internet connection then the best advice I can give you is, move location.
            And the fact is, Turnbull is spinning two illusions here:
            – That “less” is adequate.
            – That you can get the “less” NOW.
            What Turnbull doesn’t (won’t) say, is that the choice is NOT between “less” NOW and “more” in 7 years, it is between “less” in 5 years instead of “more” in 7 years. Put in those terms, there’s no doubt that people would prefer the “more” option.
            What Turnbull won’t publicly acknowledge is that “adequate” is synonymous with “mediocre”. No one prefers an “adequate” solution over a “good” solution*. It is the difference between a pass mark and a high distinction.
            * (unless it’s a matter of life and death, then they’ll take what they can get)
            Let me put it to you in these terms:
            I can give you $50 in 5 years’ time, or $100 in 7 years’ time – but keep in mind that, right now, $50 is enough for you. Which would you choose?

          • Actually, I may have not really addressed what you stated, and possibly misunderstood your point.

            Well, I’ll leave the reply I’ve already written as a “general rebuttal” to a common Coalition-supporter argument. I’ve been writing similar rebuttals to so many different people parrotting the same thing, and gradually refining it. Eventually, I think the goal is to be able to just cut and paste.

            Definitely, the best way to increase the speed of the rollout would be to hire on more people – but you need a skilled, preferably experienced, workforce – and NBNCo doesn’t exactly have a monopoly on those. Maybe they could entice foreign skilled workers, but then you’d have a Coalition-led outcry of “they tirrrkk errrr JERRRBBSS!!”

          • “getting people beyond 12mbps IS NOT”

            yep like I said:

            “There’s a coalition clown sweet spot just above the current average and just below the current maximum NBNco is selling”

            “anymore than that we’ll never need because Turnbull said so…”

            Amazing. How is it that 12mbps became the magical number? Why not 33mbps or 167mbps or 249mbps?

            Seriously try to consider future needs. It’s not all about here and now and it’s not all about YOU either.

            “FTTP is the best solution due to stability, not due to speed.”

            FTTP is the best solution due to stability AND consistent ubiquitous speeds AND future needs. Hope that helps.

          • “getting people beyond 12mbps IS NOT”

            That is very short sighted. Your lack of any decent speed is a failure of ptivate enterprise, even with government incentives to do anything for you. I get beyond 12Mb yet could easily use more as could many others. This number will only increase with time. You ugrade your computer every 4 or so years because it will be too slow for current applications? That’s the same for internet applications. We have had many years of neglect with communications. There needs to be a huge catch up. DSL will become a limiting factor for a large segment of internet applications as time goes on.

            “the NBN should be working out how to increase the rollout speed (not to say they aren’t behind closed doors, but they aren’t publicly.) (and the only real way i can think of increasing the rollout speed is by hiring more people to lay cable etc.)”

            Why? How fast is fast enough? At the start of the rollout no one complained that it should be done sooner. In fact the Coalition were claiming it shouldn’t be done at all. Trying to accelerate it by bringing in extra workers puts a burden on other parts of the economy too. Labour costs would increase, wages blow out as qualified staff became a shortage.

      • Hubert Cumberdale, why is it ludicrous to say that I have never met someone with an NBN connection? There are about 20 million people in Australia, out of that as far as I know, only a few thousand people actually have an NBN connection.

        I live in the Sydney CBD. No one anywhere around here has an NBN connection, indeed, no NBN connection is available.

        • @Matthew

          And as usual Matthew, you bring what appears to be reasonable argument, but is in fact totally unrealistic.

          I don’t know anyone else in the Opera House with a 4G phone. And we are in a 4G area. Does that mean there aren’t 500 000 people on it? Or that it isn’t popular?

          Or, a better analogy, I don’t know anybody with a Golf GTI. I’ve not seen one down my way in quite some time. But I’m reliably informed by my local Volkswagen dealer they sell VERY well in my area. I just haven’t seen one.

          The NBN is not in your area yet. That doesn’t mean it won’t be. And that doesn’t mean, where it is, it isn’t popular. On the contrary in fact. And no, your argument doesn’t stand up when you talk about the fact that the NBN is slow- it has been on commercial rollout for 6 months. The 3 years previous, it was in trial mode. Stop bringing it up. Nobody is listening.

        • “why is it ludicrous to say that I have never met someone with an NBN”

          Because Matt, the NBN rollout only really began a few months ago. In fact, the NBNCo only obtained the legal right to use Telstra’s pits and pipes one year ago. Did you think it was like flipping a switch?

          • I put it down to “willful blindness” that people say the NBN roll-out is too slow and blame the NBN for it.

            Telstra held the whole thing up for 6 months….good old Telstra….

    • “Ludicrous. Popularity? I have never met someone with an NBN connection in my life, and the NBN has been around for years.”

      Given the NBN as been in it’s trial phase for most of it’s life, how are you surprised by this? Why do you think this makes a valid argument?

      “If FFTP is the best solution going forward, then we have to change the management at the NBN Co. Does anyone think NBN Co. has done a good job?”

      The fast majority of people with an IT background who have read the business plan tend to think they have done a good job.

    • Trying to give Malcolm’s NBN poor management point a bit of try. Are we?

      As for not meeting anyone with an NBN connection, maybe I can help you there.

      Read slowly and carefully. So far, there have been mostly test sites. Now, the roll out proper has just began.

      I know and understand why you are trying to overlook the reasons for the delay but that’s OK. Eventually, as more areas get connected, your disingenuous point will loose its potency.

      What you have not caught on yet, is that the opposition approach in all areas of policies has been a short term one. Namely, declare everything a disaster, have an early election and get government without stating policies. The problem is an early election did not and ain’t going to happen and, with time, the supposed gloom and doom is gradually failing to materialise and the absence of coalition’s policies is becoming painfully obvious.

      I hope this helps. However, I doubt it will for there is no one more deaf than he who doesn’t want to hear.

      • i know every pro NBN comment i read will overlook the the fact the NBN Co overlooked the reasons for the delay. anti-NBN commentators would have a lot less traction if NBN could make reasonable guesses for their plans. best case scenarios are not plans

          • the black hole icon is my facebook picture. the fact that you it is here at all somewhat worries me, as there does not seem to be any mention that delimiter lifts info from facebook anywhere. not a polite thing to do. if someone who works at this site reads this comment, can you try and get something added to the comment area to inform commenters?

          • Delimiter does not “lift” info from facebook. It “lifts” info from Gravatar. The website (Delimiter) has no control over this avatar. It is your avatar and your email address.

          • fair enough, forgot i had a gravatar. and since I’m using a different email with this reply, it shouldn’t have a picture. thanks for the clarification

        • I think you are a bit confused about the distinction between overlooking and foreseeing. To overlook something is to not notice what is there, to foresee is to guess. In this instance, the speed at which Telstra and ACCC were likely to make their respective decisions. So perhaps, major project builders should hire a fortune teller as part of their team. This, surely, would make you happier.

          • i dont think it takes a fortune teller to foresee that decisions are not made within 1 week. considering the fact that it is instituting a government monopoly, the ACCC decision could be expected to take a while. and telstra, as a company with shareholders, does need to consult them when they change half of their business model and put it to a vote. so not factoring that in to a corporate plan is, in fact, overlooking something

          • People sensationalise the delay for personal gain. There should be far more emphasis put on the timetable for AFTER the Telstra decision, as thats where the meat and bones of the rollout happen. Yet instead, for nothing more than political points, its become some sort of pivotal point ‘proving’ that NBN Co is the worst of the worst…

            The reality is, there was an unexpected 9 month delay in negotiations, resulting in an estimated 6 month delay overall. Damn small delay in the grand scheme of things.

            If people are really that keen to shoot down the NBN on time grounds, argue about the time period from it scaling up, rather than the overall time period. From the original plan, (note: picking randomish number here) if it was expected to take 8 1/2 years from full scale to finish, and it now takes 9 years from the start of the full scale to finish, then theres something to whine about. As far as I can tell though, its actually dropped to 8 1/4 years.

            Point being, from the point where time matters its actually been sped up. But thats not good for the anti- crowd, so they cherry pick the smallest point and inflate it way beyond its real impact. To use someone else’s analogy, waving kermit arms over the whole situation.

          • Wait… so your argument is kind of like this:
            “You said you’d pick me up at 6pm!”
            “I’m sorry, honey. I thought I’d be here at 6pm, but there was an accident on the highway and I got stuck in traffic.”
            “Well, it was peak hour and you should have thought of that, shouldn’t you?”
            “You’re right. I’m sorry. But it’s only 6.30 anyway and the movie’s not ’til 8. Does it matter?”
            “Of course it matters. I don’t want to go anymore.”

          • That is what I am replying to:

            “i know every pro NBN comment i read will overlook the the fact the NBN Co overlooked the reasons for the delay”

          • not the best choice of English i admit. but it does, in fact make sense. the point was most people will ignore why the NBN plan was delayed, and why the delay was not planned for.

          • I think you will find it makes little difference whether you plan or not for a delay. There will still be a delay.

            What is NBN supposed to do? Try to second guess every possible delay that will occur in the next few years and add that to the timeline. The reality is that delays cannot always be foreseen. Any plan is just that a plan. How close the outcome is to the plan determines its perceived failure or success. Don’t you think it is a bit early to decide?

            Furthermore, people’s perceptions are greatly influenced by their bias. Most reasonable commentators accept the reasons for the delay. Unsurprisingly, the large majority of those decrying the delay seem to come from coalition supporters. Incidentally, they are the same people who complain about the cost to taxpayers.

          • @Robotclone

            I understand what you are saying about foreseeing. However I don’t think it unreasonable NBNCo. believed they could negotiate with Telstra in 18 months. That was the time they allotted, instead, it took 24 months and then there were 3 months where the agreement had not come into affect as a cross over. Who can say if this cross over was foreseen or not. I believe the best that could be said is they could have allowed another 3 months for cross over which would put them currently 6 months behind instead of 9 and only 3 months behind overall.

            The delays in Greenfields were primarily the governments fault with stuffing around and changing the scope on NBNCo. several times. NBNCo. could not have foreseen that. They can only foresee what is predictable. Any engineering project (I’ve studied engineering project management and managed several small(non engineering) projects myself) allows for approximately 10% overtime. This is often not included in the schedule and is covered in other areas by over allowing for other schedules.

            NBNCo. are a VERY public company right now. They’ve been under more scrutiny in the past 3 years than most companies would in their lifetimes. We are looking at the micro of the NBN- ‘oh its 9 months behind already!’ Without looking at the macro- It is a 10 year project and they have time to catch some of that up. As you say, they need to be watched but I have no issue with how they’ve acted so far.

          • +1.1

            I’m allowing an extra 10% for overtime on your comment…

            “They’ve been under more scrutiny in the past 3 years than most companies would in their lifetimes” — I wish more people would realise this, rather than be closet experts.

          • ahh, see, im looking at it from IT perspective as opposed to engineering. and all of my teachers have said to allow 70-100% extra time for IT projects. but it seems i wasn’t paying as close attention as i thought, i didnt realise they had actually started negotiations as early as that. 33% underestimation (or 50% if you include the 3 months cross over, which i don’t know if i should or not) is a bit, but not as high as i thought it was.

          • @robotclone

            Yeah, see, the IT side is a part. But the actual laying of the fibre is $25 Billion of the $38 Billion. + $1.2 Billion for the building of the satellites and stations. + $3 Billion for the building of the wireless. So the IT parts are actually quite small.

            By and large, this is an engineering project. Civil engineering largely. The network design has been done, it is just a matter of paying the labour to connect it all up. THAT is where the engineering comes in.

            They are behind and they need to push the speed, but I don’t think they’re doing badly.

          • “and all of my teachers have said to allow 70-100% extra time for IT projects”

            You know what my teachers said when building computers. “How much memory do you need? Get that much and double it” This logic applies to EVERYTHING when it comes to IT projects. So a new communications infrastructure project with a goal of 100/40mbps connections should really be building with 200/80mbps connections in mind… oh wait they are already doing that. The system works.

        • The delay was almost entirely due to Telstra…..funny that, a “free market” company holding up progress yet again to maximize profit yet again….

      • Who is making the decisions, then, at the NBN about where the fibre is being rolled out? Isn’t this incompetence?

        Surely rolling out the fibre to areas with the greatest concentrations of people will have the greatest impact. Am I wrong?

        • Not necessarily wrong Matthew, but not necessarily right either. Rolling out to areas based on population concentration and leaving those in rural areas with substandard internet would fail one of the main aims of this project, equitable access.

          • Greetings, Ninja.

            I certainly don’t want people in rural areas to be left out, but isn’t that what is going to happen, anyway? They are not going to get the full speed.

            In terms of rolling out to the areas with the highest concentration of people, surely it makes sense in that the NBN will get more subscribers quickly, thus paying down the the debt incurred to build the NBN. Put it this way, any commercial enterprise would do that. Why is the NBN different? Is it political?

          • I know there are others who can give you a more detailed answer, but your reasoning is right for a purely commercial operation. I was probably using a more generic rural than you are I believe. I was referring to areas outside the main population centres, in NSW that is really anywhere outside of the stretch from Newcastle down to Wollongong taking in Sydney and the CC. The rural you are referring to are the 7%, please correct me if I am wrong, who will not receive fibre but will be served by either fixed wireless or satellite. If you are rural and have only had access to the slowest internet then you should already be on the interim satellite service. Those of us currently on fixed wireless however have to wait like the rest outside of the 3 year rollout schedule. Currently speeds are variable from slow to just doesn’t work. So while the 7% not on fibre will miss out, as you describe it, the service will be vastly superior to what is currently provided without requiring the billions of dollars of subsidies that the coalition plan requires.

            The rollout from my understanding is non-political. NBN co are a separate entity to the government so are not directed by political will. The rollout is a mixture of populated areas for high numbers of subscribers and areas of demand. Of course we all want to be first, and the complaints seem loudest from coalition electorates, but the NBN is replacing a shambles of telecommunications infrastructure that the previous governments poor decision making left us with. The NBN is replacing a fragmented access structure, it will take time but not been a commercial company does not need to make the same return as quickly. This is a project only a govt could do. This may be our one chance to do this and do it right. The alternative put forward by the coalition is short sighted and of dubious worth and unclear cost. It will also cost a great deal to subsidise rural access, something Malcolm tends not to mention to often. Oh and it will provide lower speeds while charging us the same as what the current NBN will cost for consumer access.

    • My cousin in Willunga is a huge fan since connecting to the NBN and so are ALL her neighbours… so there…

    • “I have never met someone with an NBN connection in my life, and the NBN has been around for years.”
      The rollout started 9 months ago and each area takes up to 12 months to finish. So is that surprising? I know a couple of people who are on the NBN who were lucky enough to be in the trial areas.

      “If FFTP is the best solution going forward, then we have to change the management at the NBN Co. Does anyone think NBN Co. has done a good job?”

      Yes, I think they are doing a good job. They just need to be left alone to do it and not have polies play with numbers to try and make things look bad. They are 6 months behind after a 9 month delay caused by Telstra and the Coalition. I think they are doing well. It’s a 10 year project. Saying “Are we there yet?” over and over from the time it starts won’t make it any quicker. FTTN will make a small speed increment happen sooner, be out of date by completion, slow the subsequent FTTH rollout and be a waste of money.

  9. Come to Armidale, see the take up rate there.
    I would point out that the people who don’t want to connect are generally those who have a purely political axe to grind. I am laughing at a local LIB/Nat fanatical who is refusing to say NBN is a good idea, but is trying to sneakily connect his business to it!
    Hilarious – I have a list of National party/ Liberal voting business owners in town who have been vocal about hating Labor and the NBN.

    Will be writing them up in the local paper; they can not connect AND maintain their national party membership – surely!

  10. well the obviously asked the wrong question which is quite common to those pushing agendas.

    Instead of asking if they just want the NBN or absolutely nothing. You’d be surprised what people will pick.

    The should be asking if they want the NBN. Where their existing service provider will get $2000 for each customer that gets transferred to across to the NBN. And the NBN recoups that $2000 worth of internet fees you’ll be forking out over a number of years.

    Or a hybrid of networks where the top speeds may be slower in certain regions. However will cost 1/3 the cost. The service provider gets ZILCH as no customers are transferred.

    Utilizing existent infrastructure means areas that do need the speed will get it a lot sooner. Building the NBN in areas that already have cable is a waste of time. When you can be building infrastructure in new estates who are wondering when they will get a fixed line service.

    • Incorrect not same

      1- Saying the NBN will recoup money by charging you for internet is like saying patrol companies recoup expenses by charging you for patrol. It is a business and you’re going to have an internet connection anyway. This way, it’s cheaper for 75% of people and gives better service

      2- It is also incorrect to say ISP’s would get zero for using FTTN- Telstra for a start would be massively subsidised to build it, just like NBNCo. The difference is the amount and ho long it takes to repay. On FTTN it will take 10 years to pay back….about the time before we have to upgrade to FTTH and inefficiencies I’ll end up costing us more over time as a matter of course. FTTN does not space cost overall. It saves cost now.

  11. Rennai
    Your probably right
    None of this means the project is being done in the right manner or with the right solutions
    They are really agreeing with faster and economical broadband

    The word “staunchly” that you use in your statement that stands from may, is I think is a bit strong, which you will conceed if your fair dinkum

    • @Greg: And the moment the Coalition can come up w/ an actual concrete and costed plan then by default that would be the NBN.

  12. Wow, the trolls are out in force today – or are they astroturfers?

    Perhaps they’re even genuine commenters who have found this story through a link somewhere, but the quality of discussion on this story is far lower than the usual high Delimeter standard, thanks to regulars having to re-debunk long-debunked Coalition talking points being asserted as truth by newcomers.

    • “but the quality of discussion on this story is far lower than the usual high Delimeter standard, thanks to regulars having to re-debunk long-debunked Coalition talking points being asserted as truth by newcomers”

      Isn’t that always the way? 90% of all comments are going over the same old ground again and again. There is definitely a need to be able to point to a FAQ or FSU (frequently spouted untruths)

  13. Asking whether people think its a “good idea” is a “motherhood” question. Of course everyone thinks a national broadband network is a good idea. Its like asking the residents of Port Augusta whether they think it’d be a good idea to instead of shutting down the coal powerplant there and losing all the jobs associated with it to instead replace it with a solar thermal plant. Its like asking whether people think an alliance with America is a good idea. Then ask them whether they agree with any of the wars that alliance has dragged us into, and they’ll mostly say no. A poll that asks vague general motherhood questions and avoids the specifics is one that is rigged to get a particular answer, not one that is genuinely attempting to find out what people think. The problem with the NBN as it is being done isn’t the idea. That idea is common to both the government and opposition versions.

    A useful poll would be one that sets out the costs and the benefits of a proposal and the costs and benefits of the alternatives, then asks whether the proposal is the best way of doing whatever it is.

    • @Gordon

      A useful poll would be one that sets out the costs and the benefits of a proposal and the costs and benefits of the alternatives, then asks whether the proposal is the best way of doing whatever it is.

      You won’t get one like that. Polls only work if people understand what’s going on and if they don’t, are INTERESTED in what’s going on. If they’re neither (which many are with the NBN) showing them the pros and cons of both will just make their eyes glaze over.

      I’m not saying it SHOULDN’T be done, but I think you’ll find alot more “I don’t knows” or more likely “I don’t understands”. Many don’t even know what the NBN is. The best you could do would be:

      – Do you want better broadband?
      – Do you want that better broadband that is adequate for the next 10 years, or for the next 30-40 years (some will glaze out here already….long term questions tend to make people bored)
      – Do you want the government to pay for better broadband, and pay it back with us using the broadband or do you want them to subsidise it for several years to come in an open subsidy? (there goes the rest who weren’t interested)

      Once you’ve asked them, then you can explain the first one is the NBN and the second is FTTN. You don’t mention either till then, or it brings across bias.

      But no one will do a poll like that. Half you 1000 respondents would hang up….

    • “A useful poll would be one that sets out the costs and the benefits of a proposal and the costs and benefits of the alternatives, then asks whether the proposal is the best way of doing whatever it is.”

      Polls are used to assess people’s attitudes towards something. They are not used to educate people and then test their opinion of the education.

      Even if such a poll was possible, how would you determine what is an unbiased setting of the costs and benefits? Which version of the costs and benefits would you use, labor or the coalition? Also, would you take into account update costs or not?

      Lastly, the lack of costing from the coalition would make such a poll useless.

    • “Of course everyone thinks a national broadband network is a good idea.” Oh? I know some rusted on Coalition supporters who live in Sydney and can only get expensive fixed wireless and they don’t have a good word to say for the NBN.

    • Hi Gordon

      It’s not just a good idea, it’s a great idea done the right way. We (all Aussies), will each get (roughly) $142 dollars back per person under the current NBN.

      However, I’m totally against the Liberals version as we will each pay $1000 dollars a head (even the kids) due to their plan being mostly “subsidies” to private companies to get them on board.

  14. Well at least this survey should be much more accurate than Turnbull’s bodgy homebrew online one.

  15. I live in Darwin and they’re about half way through the roll out and while I currently get about 15Mbs with ADSL2+ from Telstra I’m really looking forward to upgrading to 100Mbs.

  16. two thirds of Australians don’t even know what the NBN is ! poll is a load of bollocks

    • I knew we were an ageing society, but I didn’t think two thirds of us had a foot in the grave.

    • @What what

      I don’t normally feed them, but why not. That’s interesting, so by your statistics at LEAST 1/3 if not half of all Australians lie on polls. Or at least just answer yes or no depending on how they’re feeling.

      Why exactly do companies and media pay millions a year to do polls again…..?

      • 15% of voters voted informally at the recent local government elections and that was only a one figure above the line or rank three individuals test. Not hard really.

        I know there were some who may have done it on purpose, but 15% could have a big impact on any close result.

    • Another research expert. Tell us how did you work that out? Your own highly scientific research?

  17. Two out of three people support the NBN?


    Don’t they know the Earl of Wentworth, aka Sir Lunchalot, could deliver it all much FASTER and CHEAPER.

    And if anyone doesn’t know that, just ask him. But don’t ask him how he will achieve his much-touted outcome; that’s a state secret, apparently, though some people have been impolite enough to suggest that it is a complete unknown because he has no idea of the answer.

  18. Two-thirds of Aussies agree
    >two thirds

    “with two thirds of that sample located in urban areas and one third in rural areas”


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