Qld LNP MPs doorknock for FTTN petition



news Two Federal Coalition Members of Parliament have flagged their intention to conduct a door-knocking campaign in their Queensland electorates to garner support for a petition which would support faster high-speed broadband being rolled out to their regions; effectively, a petition in support of the Coalition’s fibre to the node rival NBN plan.


The two MPs, Peter Dutton and Seath Holswich, represent the Dickson and Pine Rivers electorates to the north of Brisbane in Queensland (Dickson contains part of Brisbane). The pair issued a joint statement in late January noting that they were dissatisfied with the rollout of Labor’s National Broadband Network project in their electorates and wanted to campaign for faster change.

In their statement, the pair pointed out that currently, businesses in the communities of Brendale and Strathpine were not scheduled to receive the National Broadband Network in the next 3-5 years.

“The rollout is taking too long and costing too much, and is not prioritising the areas with the worst broadband today” Dutton said. Mr Holswich added that he had met with business owners who had to invest in a deal with a telecommunications company, which cost them $15,000 to have a fibre run down their street. On top of that they are paying $1000 a month in line rental.
“This is not an affordable cost for small business owners in Pine Rivers and that is why Peter and I felt something had to be done,” he said. Dutton stated that the Coalition was committed to upgrading broadband sooner, cheaper and more affordably for consumers. “It will see existing infrastructure used where possible and use a mix of technologies to help benefit all users” Dutton said.
Holswich and Dutton said they planned to doorknock surrounding businesses and residential homes to gather signatures and Dutton would subsequently present the petition to the Federal Parliament later this year.

The pair are accurate in their claims that the adjoining Brendale and Strathpine areas are not slated to receive the NBN in the next three years under NBN Co’s existing rollout plan. However, it appears that Holswich and Dutton have been quite selective in choosing areas to criticise regarding the NBN rollout, as is evident from the map of the region above.

For example, directly to the south-east of Brendale, there is an extensive NBN rollout zone ranging from Bridgeman Downs to Carseldine almost to Geebung, where construction of the NBN’s fibre has already commenced, and there is another area to the right in Nudgee, Banyo and around the Eagle Farm Racecourse where construction has already commenced. There are other areas around that geography which are slated to receive the NBN’s fibre within the next one to three years.

It’s a similar situation to the north of Strathpine, where construction has already commenced around Petrie and construction is slated to start within one year on either side.

In addition, it’s not clear that Dutton and Holswich’s claims that the Coalition would roll out high-speed broadband to the regions mentioned are accurate. Currently, the Coalition has committed to a fibre to the node-style rollout, as opposed to the more comprehensive fibre to the premise-style rollout which constitutes the current Labor NBN project. However, the Coalition has also committed to requesting the Productivity Commission to undertake an extensive cost/benefit analysis into Australia’s broadband needs following the upcoming Federal Election, which could delay any infrastructure rollout by a period expected to be up to six months.

In addition, the Coalition will also need to rework NBN Co’s extensive contract with Telstra, which took more than a year to negotiate initially, and it will also need to sign contracts with construction companies and network equipment vendors for its fibre to the node rollout to proceed; a process which has occupied much of the first several years of NBN Co’s history after it was set up in mid-2009.

Dutton’s comments last month are not the first time the Liberal MP has attacked Labor’s National Broadband Network project. In March 2011, for example, Dutton issued a joint media release with Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull denouncing the NBN, following a local forum held by Dutton in Samford.

“There is no evidence whatsoever that the massive increase in speeds delivered by fibre-the-home will deliver any extra value or benefit to Australian households. Labor’s NBN is the least cost effective policy,” said Turnbull at the time in the joint media release. “The only thing that can be said for sure is that a national fibre to the home network, overbuilding and decommissioning our entire national fixed line customer access network, is by far the most expensive solution imaginable.”

Dutton and Holswich are also not the only Coalition MPs from seats in the Brisbane area who has recently criticised the NBN. In April 2012, for example, Turnbull also issued a similar joint media release with the Member for Bowman, Andrew Laming. At the time, the pair claimed that the NBN rollout in Brisbane “almost entirely” targeted safe Labor seats in the city, despite analysis having consistently shown no political bias in the NBN rollout and NBN Co itself strongly denying any such bias. At the time, Laming engaged in a war on words with a number of online commentators on Twitter with respect to the NBN project (see also Michael Wyres’ post on the subject here).

To be honest, I find it quite amusing that Coalition MPs have flagged plans to door-knock their electorates regarding the NBN issue. I suspect it will quite a fruitless exercise in general.

The first reason why I believe this is that the NBN has remained an overwhelmingly popular policy over the past few years. I believe frustration over the Howard Government’s anemic broadband policy was a minor factor in the 2007 Federal Election, and in the 2010 Federal Election internal Liberal Party analysis showed the Coalition’s poor broadband policy at that point was a substantial factor in the party not winning seats in key electorates in areas such as Tasmania. Since that time, independent polling has shown the NBN continues to enjoy enduring popularity as a policy.

When you couple this with the fact that the Coalition hasn’t yet released a hard communications policy to stack up against the Government’s firm NBN vision, and the fact that fibre to the node as a concept is a lot harder to explain than the “fibre everywhere” vision that Labor’s NBN project represents, you have to wonder whether Dutton and Holswich will have a hard time selling their message in their electorates.

I imagine that their efforts may actually stimulate some Queenslanders to become better informed about the NBN debate in general; and informally, history shows that when people become better informed about the NBN, they tend to support it. Queenslanders are a smart bunch and I expect they, like most of Australia, will continue to broadly support the NBN project.

Expect to see more of this kind of behaviour from Coalition MPs as the Federal Election in September gets closer, especially from junior MPs connected with Turnbull.

Image credit: NBN Co, Office of Peter Dutton


  1. Well, under Dutton’s plans for broadband that particular business would still have had to pay $15,000 in installation and be paying $1,000 in monthly fees because FTTN won’t cut it for them.

    • Wonder what speed that get for that $1k/month bet it is only 10/10.
      I’m expecting to continue to pay about $500-$1000/month for business broadband on NBN as soon as they get sorted and offer real business service. Five years ago we could have coped but now 95% of our work comes in via email. If that business is willing to spend 15k + 1k/month on broadband now they must rely on the internet for business they should be looking a similar business grade service post NBN. In my experience the bottle neck for SMEs is upload speed. Lack of upload speed makes things like remote working difficult, reduces your options for cloud services, inability to send large files to clients/suppliers in an efficient manner, and upload saturation can also cause sporadic disruption to web browsing. This is a problem not addressed or even acknowledged by TA and MT.

      BTW on business grade service, just remember the more stuff you move online to more you need your internet to be running to keep your business functioning. Like all IT spending just weigh the risk of lose of internet for a indeterminate amount of time against saving a couple of hundred dollars a month.

      • That $1k is cheap. Telstra quoted my old work over $2/m on a 36 month contract to get 2/2 Mbps, about a year ago. So they had to stick with congested 3/0.3 ADSL. Private enterprise at work!

  2. You may find he’ll get quite a few signing the petition depending on how it’s worded. “Do you want fast broadband rolled out faster?” Well yes, yes I do. They won’t necessarily know or understand the differences between the two policies (if policy even enters into the equation when they’re asked).

      • I bet this whole exercise is going to be a misinformation/smear campaign.

        I hope some people record what is said to them (might be illegal though?) because I bet there will be a bunch of lies in the hopes people won’t do their own research (which plenty won’t).

  3. What a world we live in.

    Small business has to get it’s own fibre deployed thanks to the lack of Liberal policy over decades, and then they complain when a Labor government puts it on the agenda.

    Why the hell don’t people actually think about stuff themselves any more :/

    • I don’t think they were complaining about Labor putting it on the agenda. I think they were complaining about Dutton and his party wanting to take it off.

  4. “On top of that they are paying $1000 a month in line rental.”
    With FttN they will need to keep paying that as they will need more than copper can offer in uploads. They point out a problem and then dont give a solution to that problem at all it will not help that user in the example at all what a joke.

    Also their poll will be a joke of course they will get support for it they will ask “Do you want superfast sooner than 3-5 years?”
    I guarantee they will not tell the truth they will not tell people it is only UP TO 80 Mbps vs up to 1000Mbps and uploads which small bushiness need are a pitiful UP TO 5-6Mbps vs up to 400 Mbps.

  5. If there was any technologically feasible way to do it, LNP electorates should have to wait till last. Want the NBN? Vote Labor. Want their half-arsed FTTN, to start building sometime in 2014 (if they are lucky)? Vote LNP.

  6. It is rather quaint if you think about it. Door knocking. I mean here is a coalition/party/whatever that wants to convince us that FttN is perfectly adequate and that FttH is a waste and what they do to achieve this is going around the place annoying people in their homes with political crap. I would have thought there was a more cost effective and more efficient method of doing this but I guess it doesn’t quite have the same effect as getting right up in someone’s face where you can “bully” them for a vote.

    • Doorknocking is soooo slooow and reaches so few people.

      If only there were some technology that allowed them to doorknock homes all over the country at high speed. I envisage a system providing up to 12MDk/sec (Mega Doorknocks / second).

      It could be implemented with some sort of series of tubes that fed straight into the living rooms of the vic^^^ doorknockees, allowing them to project their “Message”.

      But it would be awful if people could question the almighty “Message”, so perhaps limiting the outgoing or “Return Message” from a home is a good idea.

      And thus the FTTN concept was born.

      • Do governments take any notice of (inconvenient) petitions any way? It is more the stunt of the announcement that appears to matter. Chance are they won’t actually knock on any doors. Pro NBN people would take the greatest pleasure in engaging them in conversation and waiting their time.

        Remember MT’s on line survey stunt of a few months ago? I don’t think much came of that. This was announced at the time he had a forum in Bennelong and put it about that the electorate would not be getting the NBN when the truth is part of Bennelong is not in the first phase. And why should it be? Much of it has HFC for those prepared to pay the above average cost.

  7. It’s a doorknock against progress. It seems the LNP has been taken over by a coalition comprised of Mormons and Amish.

    • I think that’s a bit harsh – there are plenty of Mormons who are in favour of the best modern technology.

      Amish are, well, Amish.

      I think the real term you were looking for is “Luddite“.
      (hoping my html tag worked… preview would be a really nice feature, Renai!)

      • I was referring more to the mormon propensity to spread the word via door knocking and the amish approach to technology invented after the wheel. Put those 2 together and you’ve got the current LNP.

  8. “To be honest, I find it quite amusing that Coalition MPs have flagged plans to door-knock their electorates regarding the NBN issue. I suspect it will quite a fruitless exercise in general.”

    Yet another campaign to oversell a policy that doesn’t exist yet, against a superior solution already being built. And people will lap it up.

    Amazing. And yet somehow entirely unsurprising.

  9. “When you couple this with the fact that the Coalition hasn’t yet released a hard communications policy to stack up against the Government’s firm NBN vision, and the fact that fibre to the node as a concept is a lot harder to explain than the “fibre everywhere” vision that Labor’s NBN project represents, you have to wonder whether Dutton and Holswich will have a hard time selling their message in their electorates.”

    I dont think they will rely on the technical detail and difference to sell it. I think they will be hoping they dont have to get into that level of detail, and they will spin their away from any hard questions, relying on the “stopping Labor wasting billions” and “incompetent at rolling out infrastructure – look how slow they are going!” rhetoric to get them through.
    If Dutton and Holswich are planning to do this before the May budget, I dont see how they will be able to do anything other than spin instead of providign actual detail. Christopher Pyne on Q & A last night basically said the Libs wont be releasing their major policies until at least after the May budget so they have the “proper figures” for their costings. No doubt Turnbulls FTTN policy will fall into this category, seeing as he has already declined to release it – even though it was apparently fully costed and ready to go – because he doesnt have access to all the numbers.
    Funny how the Libs have no problem promising surplusses every year, without these same numbers!
    Its also interesting that FTTN is the technology that has been picked as the winner, even before the CBA has been done. The CBA should provide the answers as to which is the best way to go. Its pointless doing the CBA when the answers are already given. Turnbull needs to be pressed harder on what the point of his CBA actually is.
    Saldy, most of the constituents that will be doorknocked wont know the hard questions to ask of Dutton and Holswich. They likely wont care too much either. They will swallow the “save billions” and “rollout quicker” whilst being mislead into thinking they will get the same thing as the NBN – and will sign the petition.

  10. It seems Coalition have hit a new low with this plan, rather than working on policies they will continue to provide propaganda based on lies.

    I wonder if this door knocking will get their information mixed up? And if It does, then it should go to court and an inquiry into Coalition handling of door knocking.

    Door Knocking is what alot of people hate as well – they don’t like it when Telco’s do it and I’m sure the public won’t like it when Politicians are desperate enough to come to the door.

  11. I live in Peter Dutton’s electorate and currently have access to a congested RIM getting ADSL1 access. We aren’t on any Telstra plan to be upgraded through their “TopHat” project and as you can expect only get expensive resold Telstra Internet. All this shows is that a completely uninformed Minister will to the Malcolm Turnbull party line rather than address the 3rd world Internet in his electorate. I’m not a big Labor fan, but the NBN is something they are doing right.

    • “I’m not a big Labor fan, but the NBN is something they are doing right.”

      Hear, hear!

      There are a lot of things Labor are doing wrong, IMHO (data retention, privacy, net filtering, refugee policy, etc) but the NBN is one of those rare times you can point to a government policy and say “Hey, that’s a really good idea, and they’re actually doing it right!”

      • The things Labor seem to be doing wrong are the same things I fully expect the LNP to do wrong also based on past performance.

  12. Heck, this is really inspiring!

    Maybe this model should be the one to take us through the 21st Century and beyond… IP over Door-knocking!

  13. I live in Brisbane and every time there is sufficient rain our phone and internet play up. Most recent example was just 2 weeks ago. Our suburb doesn’t even really flood it just takes enough rain and the copper wire does not work. Can any liberal politician tell me how FTTN will overcome this problem when it appears the Telstra tech has to fix the problem that occurs between where I live and the pillar box which is just up the street. It would appear that I would still be left with the last bit of troublesome copper if the liberals go ahead with there half baked idea. Please anyone tell me how this plan will overcome my problem and I am sure many others each time we get more than a few millimetres of rain. I hold my breath waiting.

  14. The Coalition’s propaganda for the last few years: FTTH is an expensive, slow to deploy white elephant which will be obsolete before it’s finished.

    The Coalition’s proposed solution: FTTN, a slightly less expensive, slightly faster to deploy white elephant which is obsolete now.

    – and yes, I know that “obsolete before it’s finished” is a complete lie.

  15. As the NBN rolls out it will build from those areas already built or announced. If these MP’s neighboring electorates are progressing with the NBN rollout now or soon, it won’t be long for these MP’s electorates. Time frames for a CBA, negotiation with Telstra, and the eventual roll out of FTTN is unlikely to occur any quicker than the NBN progressing as is.

    Brisbane is covered with HFC, from both Optus and Telstra/Foxtel, speeds already available with HFC are faster than any suggested FTTN. In addition Telstra has/is rolling out ADSL2+ ‘top hat’ upgrades (essentially fttn) to many suburbs not within the NBN 3 year rollout plan.

    Before the NBN was announced there was a tender to roll out nation wide FTTN by paying private companies to do the roll out (similar to the current LNP plan), the LNP was against it at the time, that plan was scrapped and the NBN is now proceeding with predominately FTTP. A cost-benefit analysis looking for a long term telecommunications solution should come the same result, unless directed otherwise.

  16. Well, here in Enoggera, I sincerely hope my local MP, Premier Campbell Newman, comes door knocking about FTTN! I’ll be telling him as one of his constituents to start backing a local rollout of the more visionary FTTH NBN ASAP!

  17. Who needs FTTP, when you can have CTTP?! (Coalition to the premise). By the time they go, they’ll leave you under the impression that FTTN will reach you faster, cheaper, and give you the same speeds. In reality it’s CAUS (complete and utter shit).

  18. It’ll be interesting to see the petition wording. Is there a law against lying in a petition? Oh please say there is.

    • Coalition solution is to spend $15b – (the only number Malcolm has ever committed to) – on an FTTN solution, that even he agrees will need to be upgraded later for more dollars, and forgo the economic benefits in the meantime.

      This is why FTTP is cheaper…and releases us from the squirrel grip Telstra has on the entire telco space.

  19. “and the fact that fibre to the node as a concept is a lot harder to explain than the “fibre everywhere” vision that Labor’s NBN project represents”


    That’s what Tony Abbott will look like trying to explain his FTTN plan.

  20. I propose IPAoLM. Internet Protocol Abacus over Liberal Member.

    An LNP member appears at your door; you hand them an abacus with a preset value (who would even use more than a few beads for information?! preposterous!).

    They hot foot it across the electorate to the destination, who then receives the abacus.

    The receiving party then makes changes, including moving one additional abacus bead to state the abacus has been received, and hands it to the LNP member, whom then hot-foots it back across the electorate to the originator.

    I believe the Fibre to anything is a waste and tax-payer rort! I call a royal commission, to demand satisfaction! IPAoLM should be ratified as a standard, at once. At once I say.

    • So MPs would effectively become ISPs? Brilliant. I’m sure I speak for every human on Earth when I say that’s the best internet system ever proposed in the solar system. I’m just not sure I could handle a ping of up to 1 month when Hockey is carrying the abacus though. Ironically I think Abbott’s fitness will provide the fastest connection over IPAoLM. Good thinking regardless. Its clear you are an expert of internetness.

      • Latency is a concern, granted; some Members may perform more effectively that others; and I haven’t really accounted for the potential for the payload to be “repeated” by the carrier in a manner that isn’t consistent with the source data.

        Probably need some kind of checksum to prevent tampering?

        I’ve also realised wireless connectivity might be an issue. Perhaps institute IPAoCFLM?

        Internet Protocol Abacus over Canon Fired Liberal Member? It’s pretty catchy if you ask me. On the bright side, it might actually be faster due to the better acceleration achieved, over the original foot work based model.

        Finally, a quicker wireless service than fixed door based access! Hooray!

        • Internet Protocol Abacus over Canon Fired Liberal Member?

          Brilliant! What could possibly go wrong with such a technically advanced system?

          I for one, would love to see a few Liberal MPs fired from a cannon (solely for the purpose of science and bettering the internet of course ;-) )

          • Imagine the drag caused by Tony Abbotts Ears! they’d be at risk of catching fire for sure! Quick, let’s fire him out of a canon to test my theory! (only in the name of science of course – although fireing him into North Korean waters would add addtional entertainment value!) :-D

          • Good thing TA is a fully ratified firey guy then …LOL

            All piss-takes aside, I genuinely give TA a big thumbs up for being a volunteer RFS officer :)

          • That’d be great if it weren’t for the fact that all he did recently was show up for photos and then bugger off!

            No wonder on twitter he’s frequently referred to with the hashtags #StuntTony & #StuntMan !!!

    • Well a sneakernet can be high bandwidth maybe this is what they mean by faster and it would fit MT “technology agnostic” plan.

  21. The two questions that MT and the LNP members will never answer are:
    1. “What up and down speeds do you mean when you say ‘super fast broadband’?”
    2. “Will we all get those speeds at all times, not just when no-one else in the street is using it?”

    ““It will see existing infrastructure used where possible and use a mix of technologies to help benefit all users” Dutton said.” This statement gives us a clue to what the LNP mean. Depending on their answers above it’s quite possible that I, on an ADSL2+ connection (but providing 8Mbps down/ 0.8Mbps up) am actually on ‘super fast broadband’. Or maybe they’ll say that the HFC in my street is ‘superfast’ enough for anybody (who only uses it at 9am on a weekday, perhaps).

    Let’s not kid ourselves, the LNP will do what they always do – vaguely promise the world, but only give the ‘important people’ what they want; the rest of us will get the crumbs, and told how lucky we are.

  22. “Mr Holswich added that he had met with business owners who had to invest in a deal with a telecommunications company, which cost them $15,000 to have a fibre run down their street. On top of that they are paying $1000 a month in line rental.”

    This would be likely TPG service thru UEcomm. NOT THE NBN

    • Also I can guess which business that was. He wanted me to build a datacentre in his back office

      When I heard he was doing this. I laughed and ran away

  23. I live in the Petrie electorate just north of Dutton’s and am slated to get the NBN in the next twelve months. Personally can’t wait for it to get here. When I first moved into my house, I couldn’t get ADSL at all because the federal Liberal government had allowed Telstra to cost strip new copper installations and everyone where I were on a pair gain system. The Liberal party argues that competition will force the Telco’s to upgrade. It is hard when there is no competition because Telstra had a monopoly on the wire and they maintained that monopoly by ensuring that other ISPs had limited access to their exchanges and no access to sub exchanges off the main exchange.
    I am now on CMUX setup which I understand is equivalent of Fibre to the Node. I get less that 50% of the maximum performance of ADSL1 and less than that of ADSL2+. MY wife works for a multinational company and deals extensively with large graphics files. This sort of performance adds about an extra1-2 hours of computer work that she does each day at home. To keep the NBN would be the only reason I would vote for Labour. I don’t believe that the Liberals understand that. If they took that in as part of there platform guaranteeing fibre to the home but a more cost effective delivery of it. They would be a shoo in.

  24. I can’t believe I live in a society where politicians can demonstrate such an obvious lack of logic. It’s almost on the level of 1+1=3. The problem with the voting system in this country, and perhaps most others, is that it assumes that people can differentiate truth from liar, or perhaps better put as selective truth, or contextual-less truth. It’s bullshit. If that assumption were true, virtually none of the advertising on our TV’s.

    Surely there must be a better way to make wise decision on a national scale. No doubt there’ll be a day where we’ll look back at this era and wonder we ever survived making national decisions based on marketing.

  25. It’s amusing that just two MP’s door knocking in their respective electorates in one state of Australia is perceived as some sort of threat to the Labor NBN rollout.

    I am certain if they had this kind of budget and the equivalent of the NBN Propaganda truck traveling all over Australia they could make a better effort.

    ‘The Department of Broadband will spend $20 million this financial year on advertising to drum up customers for the national broadband network.

    The extra advertising, in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, comes in addition to an increasing marketing budget at NBN Co itself.

    NBN Co has tripled its advertising and marketing budget from $2.6 million in the 2010-11 financial year to $11.2 million in the 2011-12 financial year.’


  26. Wow, what an old picture of Dutton. He is so much fatter now. Amazing he didn’t have a heart attack walking around his Electorate.

  27. Oh the Hypocrisy just drips from these fools. This is my backyard and I know it well. Aspley is being converted now and deserves to be the early in the rank. It is a Telstra RIM hell. Why not let them that have suffered the most, get relief from the forced garrotting of their communications connections. Then you get this insidious Shiite scream his Electorate first and then can the upgrade of the CAN. Selfish Hypocrite!
    I miss out on the NBN by a few Blocks and not slated till 2015. I can live with that as we have actually not a bad CAN, but some strange harmonics on it during certain hours but choose your Router’s chip set well and no issues. I am only 1.8Km from the Exchange (Cable length) and synch at 17M. We have underground Telstra/Foxtel cable and Telstra copper. Estate built in 1988/89. So naturally we can wait. There are more deserving to be upgraded first. Doesn’t stop us drooling for it’s arrival.
    But here you have those bitching “Me first” and then we can end the initiative, yet deny it is Pork Barreling. I can claim that all Politicians are upright and honest, but that doesn’t make it a reality. Dutton was sleazy at the start of his political career, and is more so now. Nauseating to the most!

    • You want to see real pork barrelling, wait till Tony gets in, John made an art form of it…

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