Targeting Turnbull: $15k raised for pro-NBN ads



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 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


  1. Nice to see you get the opportunity to use that picture one last time… This whole run of campaigning against FttN is starting to remind me of the Stop SOPA actions of last year. There is a constant outpouring of opinion to stick with FttH, and its not stopping.

    Great to see actual democracy in action, rather than the Liberal branded version where its decided on a single multi issue election.

  2. It’s unfortunate this fund raising campaign has resulted in more money flowing to the bulging coffers of Murdoch’s News Limited. As if the Wentworth Courier isn’t bulging with advertisements already.

    He seems to get you whichever way you turn.

  3. HI! the only problem stopping the ‘Alex, Nick & the Saving the NBN team?’ (same people also did the online petition) crowd funding going wildly viral (morning & evening shows would love them) is they are so secretive about who they are! If they don’t go public or get outed it will just die on the vine!


    • @Editor

      I’ve no idea what you mean. I’ve spoken to Nick several times. He’s been on media (both news and radio) and has spoken to Turnbull himself.

      He’s got other things in his life that are taking up alot of his time at the moment, which is why Alex is giving him a hand.

      I’ve no idea why you think the group is being secretive. I have public profiles of all involved, though it’s not my place to give them out. But they’re all available,

  4. > Lets Put an Ad in Turnbull’s Local Newspaper!

    The Wentworth Courier is owned by Newscorp, headed by Rupert Murdoch.

    Even if that ad gets accepted, they’ll just negate it and give equally sized space for Turnbull or whatnot. Quite likely for free.

    They provided the studio where the coalition launched its broadband policy for, I’d assume, free in the area covered by the Wentworth Courier.

    If people want to burn $12,726.72 (and they’ll be sure not to pay a cent less), then whatever, but don’t be under the illusion that this will make any sort of any difference, and even if it does, you’ve just paid the salary of those who would undo whatever difference it would make.

    Newscorp papers aren’t a forum, they’re a propaganda sheet, The Australian runs at a loss for pushing a political agenda, for crying out loud. When they pretend to be a forum, it’s only because they want you money.

  5. Renai, any chance of interviewing or otherwise looking into the people behind this? I agree with Editor’s concern about the lack of transparency, but would like to support it if the people behind it are competent.

    • @AnthonyS

      I’m not sure what people are so concerned over?

      I’ve been involved in this group since just after the petition was started. It’s a bunch of guys who all share a passion for the NBN. Several run pro-NBN websites/blogs. has coordinated the efforts since the petition took off and these things are the result.

      What’s the issue?

      • There isn’t an issue per se. It’s just good form to provide transparency, especially when it comes to politics & activism. I don’t know you or your cohorts from the next person in the street, so it should be understandable that I’d like to know who I’m handing money over to.

        As proven by the blatant (and some would argue, successful) manipulation by News Ltd during the election, we need to be ever vigilant of vested interest. Also, if it turns out you have a talented PR/Media person in your group’s midst, then I might be encouraged to put in more than I intended originally.

        Please don’t take this as an criticism of your group, it’s a policy I apply across the board.

        • @AnthonyS

          Fair enough. Unfortunately, there’s been little MSM media interest for the group (only in the early days of the petition), so little has been explored about its’ members. We are attempting to organise a site that shows the group and its’ purpose, but with others already running sites of their own, it’s difficult to manage the time.

          Ultimately, we’re all either just tech/NBN/telecoms bloggers or those who want FTTH to make up the majority of the NBN. It’s a very loose collection of people. We’re certainly not a professional lobby group or any such. We’re a Grassroots campaign. We’ve had a lot of help from as this petition was their biggest ever. So they wanted to continue the support of the cause.

          • The greater issue is whether it is a good idea (and to be seen to be a good idea) to further line the pockets of the person who has helped LNP to continue, and possibly succeed, with its wrecking activities.

          • Sadly it’s a case of playing the ball where it lies. News Ltd has the market penetration this sort of thing requires, so if you can get it past them onto their pages, the collateral is just something that can’t be avoided.

  6. Pity it wasn’t done before the election as should the petition when it may have had more clout, perhaps the dollars would be better spent on a pool fund for Fibre on Demand.


      • Yes I understand that the only ‘meaningful discussion’ under your strict self defined rule is classified as any comment pro Labor NBN and anti-Coalition, even when incorrect.

        The point remains that all this frenzy of pro Labor FTTP lobbying activity is happening after the election when the horse has well and truly bolted, I thought the electorate when it came to NBN policy rejected Labor and embraced the Coalition, or is that point only valid when Labor wins?

        • Yes I understand that the only ‘meaningful discussion’ under your strict self defined rule is classified as any comment pro Labor NBN and anti-Coalition, even when incorrect.

          Err, what? No, that’s not what meaningful dicussion is. Meaningful discussion is bringing useful information to the debate, encouraging discussion… for example here is how I would have worded your above comment.

          I don’t believe this petition will achieve anything useful, because [reason1] and [reason2]. If this partition was done before the election it might have cause [outcome] which would be good for [reason3]. Maybe a better use of fundraising would be to go towards asking NBNCo how much it would upgrade communities to FTTH.

          Notice that I stimulated the conversation by providing discussion about why I thought the timing isn’t good, and also wasn’t done in an argumentative way? Notice how the suggestion for an alternative is actually practical rather than hypothetical. That is meaningful discussion.

          The point remains that all this frenzy of pro Labor FTTP lobbying activity is happening after the election when the horse has well and truly bolted, I thought the electorate when it came to NBN policy rejected Labor and embraced the Coalition, or is that point only valid when Labor wins?

          First off all… let me correct this statement to be more in light with reality:

          The point remains that all this frenzy of pro Labor all this FTTP lobbying activity is happening after the election when the horse has well and truly bolted such lobbying is more complicated because we have to convince Turnbull rather than trying to influence the electorate. I thought the electorate when it came to NBN policy rejected Labor and embraced the Coalition, or is that point only valid when Labor wins? Afterall, you have to convience Turnbull that the electroate wasn’t voting against the current NBN policy when they the Coalition in.

          With that correction in place, yes, your point is valid, but you really think that someone should just give up lobbying for something they believe because of an election, and wait until the next election to say their piece? If that was the case we’d have ISPs implementing the mandatory ISP filter that was so violently opposed. But perhaps most importantly if you believed that Fibroid, you would be a hypocrite.

        • “pro Labor FTTP lobbying”

          Your an idiot if you think it has anything to do with “pro Labor”…

    • Hmm…. makes me wonder… how many NBNco-grade coffee machines can you buy for $15k?

      • Once again it’s easy to spot those who are here for meaningful ‘comms discussion’ and those who are here to push their own non-sensical, absolute and immovable, political bigotry …


    • Actually it would have had less impact before the election, when it would have been just another political campaign which wouldn’t have changed the result.

  7. I hope their team has a good project/policy minded individual to look at the broader policy issues not just the technical aspects of the discussion (which seem to dominate articles and are in many respects a red herring).

    A member here – TrevorX actually wrote one of the most cogent discussions of the ‘issue’ that I have read – be it a blog or mainstream media production.

    Maybe he should be recruited :P.

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