Turnbull YouTube promo backfires: Minister faces NBN ‘fraudband’ bile



news A video attempt by Malcolm Turnbull to reassure the public that the Coalition is proceeding apace with Labor’s National Broadband Network project has backfired, with most viewers giving the promo the ‘thumbs down’ and others filling the Communications Minister’s YouTube channel with bile accusing him of destroying Labor’s vision wholesale.

In the video, available on Turnbull’s personal YouTube channel and promoted through Turnbull’s ministerial website, the Liberal MP speaks directly to the camera from the Blacktown NBN site last week, stating that the Fibre to the Premises infrastructure promised Australians under Labor’s NBN vision is still currently being rolled out.

“We’re seeing people preparing pits and splicing and examining the network architecture,” said Turnbull, flanked in the video by staff from NBN Co, including the company’s new Coalition-appointed executive chairman Ziggy Switkowski, as well as contractors from construction firm Silcar, which is deploying the NBN in Western Sydney.

“The NBN Co is proceeding. 12,000 premises were passed last week. We have issued design instructions for more premises, twice as many premises to be passed by June 30 next year as the NBN has passed to date. The proposition that the rollout is being stopped or slowed is simply not correct.”

“We’re very committed to ensuring that all Australians have access to very fast broadband — much of it will be fibre to the premises, more will be fibre to the node or fibre to the cabinet in brownfield locations, but what we’ll be doing is to use the best, fastest, most affordable and cost-effective technologies in the appropriate place to get the end result of all Australians having access to very fast broadband.”

So far, of the 2,730 people who have watched Turnbull’s video on YouTube, some 56 gave the video the thumbs down, while only 15 gave it the thumbs up. In addition, the comments under the video have become completely filled with often abusive criticism of the Communications Minister.

“Can’t wait for your joke FRAUDBAND FTTN to put us all firmly back into the 20th century,” wrote one commenter. “I hope you are proud of your legacy. History will remember your failure with honest brutality. I think you have arrogantly forgotten that ‘you can’t fool all of the people all the time’.”

“Come on Malcolm, don’t beat around the bush. No one wants FTTN,” wrote another. “If you told me you’d be using YouTube to show videos like this 10 years ago, you’d laugh and say dial-up is more than enough for the average user. We want FTTH to the majority which was the correct plan under the Labor government. An EQUAL (Pricing the same), FAIR (Where distance or copper condition are not a factor for speed), UNITY (One) network, FUTURE PROOF (IE – the fibre cable is not the bottleneck).”

“I find it insulting that MT would proudly post a video from an area getting FTTP when he knows that he’s taking that opportunity away from the majority of Australians,” added a third.

Other viewers took umbrage at the fact that Turnbull had not invited any media to the site visit in Blacktown. It was common for Labor Senator Stephen Conroy, who is regarded as the founder of the NBN project and who held the Communications Minister post for five years from late 2007, to hold site visits to NBN construction zones. On such occasions, it was common for the Minister to invite journalists to attend such visits and launches — both from local media outlets as well as national mainstream media and the dedicated technology press.

However, it does not appear as though any media was invited to attend Turnbull’s site visit last week in Blacktown, or if the Minister took questions on the NBN rollout in the area. The result is that Turnbull’s video on the issue has an extremely positive tone and does not address criticism of the Coalition’s re-shaping of the NBN project.

“I noticed that there isn’t any other local, major mainstream and tech media during your little visit here Malcolm. Trying to dodge some more questions about your absolute joke of an NBN plan are we?” wrote one commenter.

Another added: “A propaganda video and not much else … Malcom Turnbull why didn’t you invite the media along, which Stephen Conroy has done in the past? … too much flak and heat to take?”

And still others highlighted the fact that Turnbull appeared to have pre-empted the outcome of NBN Co’s Strategic Review, by stating in the video that Fibre to the Node would be used in the NBN rollout. The Minister has previously stated that the Coalition was open to using any technology in the NBN rollout, which telecommunications analysts such as Paul Budde have interpreted as giving NBN Co a chance to take costs out of its current FTTP rollout scheme and show that FTTP is still a viable rollout model.

Wrote one commenter: “I thought you were “technology agnostic”? Yet, before the review is even finished you are still stuck with your FTTN ideology. How bout you take your bias review and shove it up your A$$. Nobody wants your node BS. How bout you take yourself, Switkowski and Telstra and all GTFO Australia. You all have ruined our telecommunications system for too long.”

And another added: “So the NBN review hasn’t been completed and yet you’re already saying its mostly Fibre to the Node? Sounds like the review will mean nothing. How about you listen to the Australian public for a change.”

“… much of it will be fibre to the premises, more will be fibre to the node or fibre to the cabinet in brownfield locations”, quoted a third. “Thank goodness you’re technology agnostic and no decisions have been made re: Connection types, pending the outcome of your review …”

The comments reflect ongoing support amongst the Australian population for Labor’s FTTP-based NBN model, and concern that the Coalition’s preferred FTTN model will not deliver the same service delivery outcomes to Australians. Despite the poor rollout performance of the NBN rollout under Labor, a series of polls over several years has constantly shown that the majority of the Australian population supported Labor’s NBN project.

Since the Coalition won the Federal Election in September, a wave of popular dissent against the Coalition’s plans to reshape the project has surfaced, with a number of initiatives under way to petition the Coalition to back Labor’s policy instead of its own.

An analysis of Senate voting patterns put together by supporters of Labor’s all-fibre NBN policy has also shown parties supporting the Fibre to the Premises model received more support in the Federal Election than the Coalition’s alternative, calling into question Turnbull’s claim to have a mandate to change the NBN rollout to fibre to the node.

In an opinionated article first published on iTNews last week, Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare advised Turnbull to continue to support Labor’s FTTP rollout model, despite the problems with the NBN project and the very slow rollout speed of the model so far.

“Ask most experts and they will tell you the future is fibre. The question is whether you do it now or later,” Clare wrote. “In other words, if we build a second rate fibre to the node system today we are going to have to come back later and finish the job.”

“There have been problems with the early construction rollout. It is not good enough and it needs to be fixed. There are lots of things that can be done to improve the construction rollout, and they should be done. But we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Fibre to the home is the right policy. We have to fix the construction of it – not throw it out.”

Image credit: Screenshot of Turnbull promotional video


  1. To be honest, it’s not exactly unexpected – (no matter what Turnbull included in this video) – that it was going to attract that kind of response.

  2. It’s to be expected actually…. aside from the obvious dislike and Youtube comments being generally negative…

    Blacktown had one of the biggest areas under Work Commenced in the 3 year plan and a lot of that was purged w/ the recent updates. Coming along to the same area which has had a pretty active roll out (which I might add has had very sub par broadband for the past 5 years due to congestion and neglect issues), wiping it clean and then saying “Everything is Ok!” will rub a LOT of people the wrong way.

    • I recently had the pleasure of seeing my street, which was one the ’12 months’ map, be wiped clean and have no trace of it left on the NBN rollout site.

      Where there was once several suburbs showing some kind of promise for the future, there is now one tiny square which is highlighted as potentially having FTTP built.

      I can imagine Turnbull standing in that small section and being so very proud of himself, mugging for the cameras. Fiddling while rome burns.

      • I wasn’t on a 12 month plan nor the 3 year plan but I didn’t mind, having those maps up there on the NBN site gave me a warm fuzzy feeling knowing someone, somewhere was getting FTTH.

  3. And cue Turnbull claiming all of those whom support FTTH are “lunatics” and what not, regardless of standpoint.

    It’s youtube. Youtube is full of stupid comment. However what did he think would happen, people would fall down and worship?

    — honestly.

    • Everyone is a religious zealot on the subjects that don’t align with the Abbott government…
      Climate change, carbon tax, communications infrastructure, debt ceiling, gay marriage, mining tax, asylum seekers. Our ‘government’ is still the abusive opposition they always were.

  4. I’d have given him a serve too, but it seems you need a G+ account to comment on youtube.

    but, what a load of rubbish, my cable internet is already FAR FASTER than the garbage he’s proposing for “brownfield” sites.

  5. Seriously – That whole article was based on the less than 100 people clicking a thumbs down.

    How pathetic.

    • Yeah I thought that as well but it is another example of how much decent there really is out there over the LNP play. Nothing is working for them – none of the cunning communication strategies (like blanking out the media, ignoring Australia’s largest ever on line petition) have worked thus far.

      I can’t wait for plan C.

  6. “I find it insulting that MT would proudly post a video from an area getting FTTP when he knows that he’s taking that opportunity away from the majority of Australians,” added a third.

    This YouTube comment sums up my thoughts nicely.

    • +1

      Plus what Clare says: “There have been problems with the early construction rollout. It is not good enough and it needs to be fixed. There are lots of things that can be done to improve the construction rollout, and they should be done. But we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Fibre to the home is the right policy. We have to fix the construction of it – not throw it out.”

      • Couldn’t agree more. Unfortunately it sounds like the review may as well have been concluded already. If we are lucky we might see a slight tweak to the percentage of customers to receive FTTP, but I think its safe to conclude that the majority of Australians will be lumped with FTTN for the foreseeable future :(

    • Actually just to add salt on the wound…

      He’s also on an “FTTP” roll-out area” where more than 50% of the “plan” has literally gone w/ the wind.

      Yes I live in the Blacktown area. And yes I’m still bitter over the “improvements” to the roll out map =P

      • Its not MT fault that areas pinned as under construction don’t even have contracts signed yet.

        Apparently under Conroy’s definition of under construction..

        You house is under construction when you talk with the current land owners and acquiring the land..

  7. Well if anyone wants to look up Alice Springs, NT on the NBN rollout map, you’ll see we are no longer receiving FTTP. ASPP was even on the 1 year plan with construction due to start in March 2013, with the last construction being the end of 2013. Even though none of that took place we still had the little red “1” symbol on our town.

    Given that most people cant get above adsl 1 speeds because of the massive distances to the exchange, we really could have used the infrastructure. Give us the best baseline technology so we can start testing what its capable of doing and coming up with innovative new ways to use it.

  8. 4398 views (doesn’t require an account), less than 400 downvotes…

    Yes, the “whole world” (7.1 odd billion) now know about the LNP’s policy… X D

    Hell, almost 300k signed the petition and this is the amount of “bile” they can muster?

    Pathetic. Every new victory trumped up by the Save the FTTP NBN graphically demonstrates just how little people actually seem to care. Of course, less than 5k views, let alone no significant upvotes or positive comment, could hardly be considered even vaguely successful for MT, but I think this adequately demonstrates the majority of voters are apathetic one way or another. Don’t care enough to look, don’t care enough to sign up to comment or upvote/downvote… Oh sure,

    Story should be renamed “MT propaganda flop only marginally worse than pro-FTTP response”.

  9. What a joke, the coalitions NBN plan is a joke, what did turnbul think, was his ego over represented, yes and I give it a thumbs down as well.

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