news A crowdfunding campaign has raised $15,000 in a matter of days to place ads supporting an all-fibre National Broadband Network policy in a local newspaper in the electorate of Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, as evidence continues to grow of mass popular support for Labor’s previous Fibre to the Premises policy.
Under Labor’s NBN policy, some 93 percent of Australian premises were to have received fibre directly to the premise, delivering maximum download speeds of up to 1Gbps and maximum upload speeds of 400Mbps. The remainder of the population was to have been served by a combination of satellite and wireless broadband, delivering speeds of up to 25Mbps.
Originally, the Coalition’s policy was to have seen fibre to the premises deployed to a significantly lesser proportion of the population — 22 percent — with 71 percent covered by fibre to the node technology, where fibre is extended to neighbourhood ‘nodes’ and the remainder of the distance to premises covered by Telstra’s existing copper network. The Coalition’s policy was also continue to use the HFC cable network operated by Telstra and will also target the remaining 7 percent of premises with satellite and wireless.
However, the possibility of a different style of rollout has been raised by Turnbull in the several weeks since the Liberal MP became Communications Minister. In late September, Turnbull appeared to have drastically modified the Coalition’s policy stance on the NBN just weeks after the Federal Election, declaring the Coalition was not wedded to its fibre to the node model and was “thoroughly open-minded” about the technology to be used in the network. NBN Co is currently conducting a strategic review into its operations and model that will inform Turnbull’s decisions regarding the project’s future.
At the same time, evidence has grown of a groundswell of popular opinion supporting Labor’s FTTP-based NBN model. In early September, an online petition on the issue garnered more than 260,000 signatures. The petition in general was rejected by Turnbull, but it continues to be cited by commentators as a key indicator of the popularity of Labor’s NBN vision.
On Wednesday, a group of activists who dubbed themselves the ‘Saving the NBN campaign’ posted a campaign on crowdfunding site indiegogo, calling for donations to place advertisements in the Wentworth Courier newspaper, which is distributed in Turnbull’s electorate in inner Sydney, supporting a FTTP model for the NBN.
“Right now, Malcolm Turnbull’s conducting a major review of the NBN – it’s a critical time where he’s thinking through his options. Initially, he only backed fibre to the node, but he’s now saying he’s open to a range of technologies. This shows he is listening, a little at least, and we have a window to influence his decision,” the activists wrote on their campaign page.
“Imagine him waking up and seeing our message – that Australians support an FTTP NBN – on the front of his local newspaper in the middle of his driveway. On the way to the office, it’ll be in front of every door he passes, and by the time he gets there – it’ll be in thousands of households across his electorate. Before his first appointment, he’ll have seen clearly that thousands of Australians are asking for him to get this right.”
“Already over a quarter of a million people have signed the largest change.org petition in Australia asking Malcolm Turnbull to listen — and every major poll sends the same message too. To deliver a NBN that all Australians can access and not just the privileged, we need it to be done properly. This means ensuring an NBN that delivers fibre to the premises. To do that, we need to show the Communications Minister that we’re serious about this, and that we’re not just asking – we’re acting.”
In just two days since the campaign went live, it has already hit its initial funding goal of $15,367, and has pushed past it by $367. 729 people have donated to the initiative. This has led to the ‘Saving the NBN’ activists calling for further contributions so that they can build a campaign that targets new marginal seat MPs, as well as Turnbull.
Other crowdfunding campaigns in this area recently have also succeeded. Last week, for example, Delimiter itself successfully crowdfunded $2,070 to be used to fund a Freedom of Information request for Turnbull’s extensive ‘Blue Book’ of briefings provided to incoming ministers.
Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull