news A crowdfunding campaign which aimed to raise $15,000 to place pro-FTTP NBN ads Malcolm Turnbull’s local newspaper has massively blown its original target in a matter of days, with almost $40,000 being pledged to the cause so far.
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.
Last week, 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.
The campaign had initially set a goal of $15,000. However, it quickly breached that target in a matter of days, and has continued to attract donations, which the activists in the campaign have stated they will use to target marginal electorates held by new MPs in marginal seats. Currently, the campaign has raised in excess of $39,400, with six days left of its fundraising effort to go. Almost 2,000 people have contributed to the campaign.
Comments on the crowdfunding site used by the campaign, Indiegogo, suggest the ‘Saving the NBN’ team should hook up with other activist organisations such as GetUp to further fuel the campaign.
“I suggest working with GetUp.org.au and see if they have access to some marketing guru’s to get the message across well along with ideas to maximise where get advertisement for the best “bang” for the buck,” wrote one commenter. Another recommended using the extra funding to “get a really good marketing firm on the case”, so that the crowdfunding campaign would “go viral” and be able to fund a television advertisement.
Other commenters used the platform to note that they strongly supported Labor’s version of the NBN. “First time I have ever donated to a cause… FTTP is that important for Australia’s FUTURE!” wrote one. “This is a highly important time for Australia’s future, an incredible step into the modern world. Let’s get it right for everybody, with no half measures.”
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.
The success of this campaign — taken alongside Delimiter’s own FoI crowdfunding campaign for Turnbull’s ‘Blue Book’ and the 260,000-strong petition on Change.org — strongly indicates that there is a massive groundswell of public displeasure with the Coalition right now for not seeing Labor’s all-fibre NBN policy through. Australia voted in the Coalition, yes — but that doesn’t mean we agree with all of its policies. And this one in particular is sticking in people’s craw.