Turnbull pressured to ‘fix’ NBN for far north Queensland


news Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has come under pressure during a radio interview in far north Queensland, with the ABC’s host relaying complaints from local residents that the Coalition had not done enough to bring the National Broadband Network to the region.

This morning the Prime Minister was interviewed on ABC Radio’s Far North Queensland broadcast by host Kier Shorey.

Shorey told Turnbull that residents in far-flung areas like Karumba in the Gulf of Carpentaria considered their broadband situation “stalled” at this stage, because the NBN rollout had not hit the region yet.

“It’s not a solution for them at this stage. It’s also meant that there’s been no expansion of the services by Telstra in their community. So they’ve reached that point where they naturally have to wait until late at night to send an email. Is there any short term solution for them?” Shorey asked.

Karumba is not currently on the NBN company’s rollout map.

In response, Turnbull stated that even customers in such far-flung regions could connect to the NBN.

“I’d be very happy to look in to that for them if you get me, or get [MP Warren Entsch] details of a particular customer,” the Prime Minister said.

“All of these issues are very location-specific, but can I say the satellite service which is now available – and that of course reaches everywhere in Australia that is not connected with either fixed line NBN or fixed wireless NBN – that delivers a 25 megabits per second down 5 megabits per second up service.”

“It’s obviously not as fast as you would get on a fixed line in the city, but it’s still very fast broadband and it will be available in the most remote areas in Australia. So, the whole country is covered but we have about a quarter of the premises available for a service now. In two years it will be three quarters and the roll out will be complete in 2019/20.”

Turnbull also took the chance to sink the boot into the previous Labor Government over its handling of the NBN project.

“We connected through the NBN, paying customers, activated customers, we connected more in the last month than Labor did in six years,” he said.

“What we’re doing is getting it rolled out so much more quickly and at so much less cost than would have been the cost under Labor.”

“You can’t build a National Broadband Network immediately and obviously it takes a while. When we looked at it, when we inherited this failed project from Labor, we examined it. We took a different approach, we’ve got a new board and new management and they’re taking a much more businesslike approach and they are saving 6-8 years in time, time to complete and $30 billion in cost.”

“That’s just the facts and we are, in terms of the family in Karumba, you send Warren Entsch the details and we’ll find out what the right solution is.”

A number of the statements Turnbull made with respect to Labor’s initial version of the NBN are regarded as highly contested, but appear to be part of Turnbull’s standard script for dealing with NBN questions. The Prime Minister made a number of similar statements on the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night, in response to similar questions.

One of the most disheartening things about an election campaign is seeing high-level politicians such as Turnbull allowed to get away with making the same blanket statement about policies, time and time again, without being challenged on those statements.

It would have been interesting, for example, if the ABC presenter, Kier Shorey, had been properly briefed and was aware that the NBN satellite that Turnbull mentioned was a piece of infrastructure the Prime Minister opposed being built.

But that is the problem with generalist journalists — they don’t have the deep domain experience to ask the right questions in a situation like this :(

Image credit: Parliamentary Broadcasting


  1. Coalition clowns cant help themselves though those in Karumba should be careful what they wish for as their definition of fixing something is taking a dump in their hands and smearing it all over their cave walls.

  2. Even funnier, unless the residents are in areas outside the service areas of alternative technologies they won’t be elligible to connect.

    Anyway early satellite customers complaining of unstable connections and inflexible quotas. Turnbull should be crediting Conroy, early indications is it’s as incompetently delivered as the rest of this policy.

    NBN killed all non-govt telecom investment back in 2007 (called out at the time). Then Labor’s GBE failed to deliver their promised fibre utopia; management delusionally squealing on time and budget as they were thrown out the door (and paying themselves bonuses every year). Quigley’s team failed to meet every KPI by massive margins, highlighting the little actuals released by them attracted the squealing abuse and bile of the fanboys.

    20% more premises activated in the past 4 weeks than the total under Labor’s 6 years in power. Over 90% serviceable premises passed since Labor’s removal. 30% of premises in Labor areas passed were stuck indefinitely at service class zero. Yet NBNCo is expected to post a $2+b loss for this FY (similar loses projected for all years in their CP16).

    Turnbull (and many voters) bought into this folly. The lack of value creation for $20+b borrowed taxpayer money is without international equivalence. Same again, or more, to go (20% complete). Today delivering an average 1.05mbps provisioned Internet capacity per customer for (retail) $70+ / mth. What a joke.

    • “Turnbull (and many voters) bought into this folly.”
      Steady on there Richard …. thats a bit harsh on the conservative side of politics and over the top. I’ve noticed this subtle bias creeping in to your comments lately … Respectfully suggest you try to be a bit more balanced in your contributions.

      • “saved me a trip to Melb Uni (perhaps Gregory will be there;-)”

        Yup…most of the smart folks were.

    • “Anyway early satellite customers complaining of unstable connections and inflexible quotas”

      But nowhere NEAR as many complaints as with the leased Sat space that Turnbull wanted to keep instead.

      “Turnbull should be crediting Conroy”

      Too right he should! Turnbull would have left them with no connections at all…

      Try this Richard…go ask any of those sat customers if they were happier with the previous sat connection (the one Turnbull wanted)…see how many say yes and let us know.

      • “NBN killed all non-govt telecom investment back in 2007 (called out at the time).”

        Imagined what could have been achieved if the same money was directed as a subsidy.

        • Are you trying to be ignorant? Tell me how it would be good for government to subside a monopoly? If you think they should encourage competition, then tell me how it makes economic sense to have multiple connections to each house (one for each ISP)?

          And yes, my comment above – ISPs would cherry pick the high density richer suburbs whilst leaving the rest out in the cold.

          Infrastructure should be government owned especially if it becomes difficult or too costly for multiple private entities to offer their service country wide.

        • ###NEWSFLASH!!###

          Imagined what could have been achieved if the same money was directed as a subsidy.

          Richard, being private enterprise and a free market fan, prefers government funds being redirected to private enterprise!

          Who’da thunk it?

          • Government subsidies a free market does not make.
            If Richard is a believer in free markets, then he is contradicting himself.

        • After spending $20b on a network designed to sell for half of total cost and gifting it back to Telstra, it being subsidised is exactly what happened.

    • “Anyway early satellite customers complaining of unstable connections and inflexible quotas*. ”

      *connected to Hellstra’s Satellite services, were they?

      I have been with Telstra satellite service for 2 years and am now out of contract. I am tired of paying through the nose for my 1 gig.

      No proof => no truth and short rose coloured memories. LMAO

      Turnbull’s former NBN advisor Stephen Ellis now working for Telstra

      link: http://www.smh.com.au/victoria/turnbulls-former-nbn-advisor-stephen-ellis-now-working-for-telstra-20160204-gmlfjc.html

      Is Malcolm Turnbull the next Lady Macbeth?

      link: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/is-malcolm-turnbull-the-next-lady-macbeth-20150920-gjqs2x.html

      On 1 May 2010 Turnbull publicly reversed his decision to quit the Party. At the federal election the same year, he was re-elected with a swing of over 11% and brought back to the front bench as shadow communications minister. Bovine intervention had landed Turnbull a dream posting, and at the 2012 Alfred Deakin Lecture on digital liberty, the revitalised minister spoke out candidly against the Australian government’s proposed two-year data retention law.

      An all-cast press conference is symbolic of the approach Malcolm Turnbull has taken to ensure the $41 billion NBN gets built faster, cheaper and with minimal fuss. December 15th, 2014.

      link: http://www.smh.com.au/business/malcolm-turnbull-to-make-nbn-better-faster-stronger-20141215-127m2z.html

      Clearly, he failed to deliver that Xmas present to the Gulf of Carpentaria by December, 2015. lol

      • Yes, Richard, let’s just ignore the fact that the Noalition promised the ENTIRE country would be connected to the nbn by now.
        Let’s just ignore that a substantial amount of the connections now are FttP.

          • So Richard are you telling me that NBN Co, began work initially in 2010 in Tasmania. Could and would finish rolling out a complete network Oz wide by 2012.

            Since Oz is approximately 7.69 million km² sized country! That be some hyper fast cable laying.

            Mean while back in the real world of reality projected completion date under Quigley for 1 Gbps average speed was 2020/21.

            Fast forward to the 2013, to the new dumb and dumber Turnbull/Zwitkowski team. One that promised the new improved much much super cheaper “Multi mix FTTN/HFC technology” An inferior high daily maintenance technology only capable of delivering 25Mbps average speed. The projected completion date was well beyond 2026.

            Come the year 2016, the same dumb and dumber team Turnbull/Zwitkowski negotiated a great sweetheart deal with Hellstra.

            NBN Co is paying Hellstra nearly $100 billion over the next thirty years for the copper in the street, maintenance of the copper and “help” to do the FTTN rollout, Telstra will retain ownership of the pits, ducts, traps and other key infrastructure.

            What ever did happen to that cheaper and delivered sooner MMT, Turnbull/Zwitkowski promised us all in 2014. lol

            Choose your polar circular arguments carefully Richard. In the real world of technology, and physics you are always doomed to fail. Ha Ha!

            Say I have a ticket for sale cheap. One steerage class ticket on the unsinkable RMS Titanic sailing from Southampton on April 10th.

            Psst wanna lose another round.

          • No, exposing Coalition’s (2013) policy failure and ALP’s (2007). Link provided.

            Lost another round;-)

          • “And ignored Conroy’s promised completion by 2012! Yawn”
            Numbers man dyslexic. This explains his backward sums.

            “No, exposing Coalition’s (2013) policy failure and ALP’s (2007). Link provided.”
            Oh, comparing a policy plan never enacted to a policy plan that has actually failed. S-M-R-T.

          • @Ian no blah blah

            Actually, the initial FTTN promised by the ALP was mooted in 2007 and promised to be finished in 2012 (5 years).

            That was NBN Mk I. It failed utterly when Telstra filed it’s non compliant bid (and tanked it’s shares) because the reality was, no other telco could do what Conjob was asking for.

            He then doubled down with FTTP to be finished in 2017. Then 2018, 2021 etc. Then the ALP got tanked after Rudd/Gillard/Rudd and the rest is far better remembered history…

            Richard is essentially correct though, the original mooting of the FTTN NBN in 07 pretty much murdered most significant investment in Aus. Most ISP’s slowed or halted ADSL2+ DSLAM investment, and apart from Transact and a few minor fibre providers, everything else ground to a halt.

            This comment should be misconstrued (although it likely will be) as support for the current FTTN, or a anti ALP/pro LNP post. Both parties have f#cked the shit out of this project and left it lying in a ditch. But you shouldn’t willfully ignore the past just because the party who’s solution you support made the same politically motivated, inconvenient mistakes…

          • Richard is essentially correct though, the original mooting of the FTTN NBN in 07 pretty much murdered most significant investment in Aus

            The real tragedy is that it goes back much further than that Org.

            Telecom did the preliminary planning for a fibre network in the mid 90’s (they canned the idea after they were privatised). In the very early 2000’s John Howard put together a panel that recommended the government pursue an NBN, which he ignored. Apart from the HFC build over a decade ago, and the mobile networks, there was no one seriously looking to invest in nationwide telecoms.

    • “NBN killed all non-govt telecom investment back in 2007 (called out at the time). ”
      The privatisation of Telecom killed all telecommunications investment back in 1997.

      “Then Labor’s GBE failed to deliver their promised fibre utopia;”
      Which would have been a feat, considering it wasn’t promised to be delivered until 8 years after their opposition demolished it.

      “paying themselves bonuses every year”
      How much of his bonus has Morrow donated to charity, btw?

      “20% more premises activated in the past 4 weeks than the total under Labor’s 6 years in power.”
      Either the MTM is rolling out faster than Labors plan, or the timeframe to roll out the MTM has doubled. Pick one.

      “30% of premises in Labor areas passed were stuck indefinitely at service class zero.”
      And continued to do so for 83% of Coalition rule.

      And about half that much again denied an NBN connection by the Coalition, even to this day.

      “The lack of value creation for $20+b borrowed taxpayer money is without international equivalence.”
      Most governments don’t halt a future proofed telecommunications infrastructure in favour of demolishing it to prop up local monopolies.

      “Today delivering an average 1.05mbps provisioned Internet capacity per customer for (retail) $70+ / mth.”
      And it’s only gone up in the last 2 years, too.

  3. Turnbull says ‘if they want better broadband they can connect to the satellite’, then bags Labor even though the satellite was Labors idea in the first place and he was opposed to it, he’s not only a moron he’s hypocrite.

  4. Turnbull via twitter in 2014 to a country resident who complained about internet – “just curious – if connectivity was so vital to you why did you buy a house where there was no broadband available?”

  5. I work for a large isp that deals with nbn faults everyday and what they don’t tell you about nbn satellite is that it has NO MINIMUM SPEC.

    That’s right. Getting 3 mbps instead of 25/5? Dont bother telling nbn as they wont give a damn and tell you that the network is ‘working as designed’, fault closed. Deal with it.

    Welcome to the future of broadband. If you voted for the libs, you deserve it.

    • A coin has three sides.

      Ancient history as Sky Muster 1 went live in April, 2016. lol

      All plans have a monthly data allowance which is split into peak and off‐peak times. Data usage is split into peak (7:00am–1:00am) and off‐peak(1:00am‐7:00am) in your Local Time Zone. Your connection will be slowed to 128kbps down/128kbps up during the period in which the monthly data usage quota has been exceeded (peak or off‐peak) for the remainder of your billing period.

      NBN Co’s Fair Use Policy considers 75GB or more of peak usage data usage in a four week period as excessive and a breach of its Fair Use Policy.

      NBN Co’s Fair Use Policy considers 150GB or more combined peak and off‐peak data usage in a four week period excessive and a breach of its Fair Use Policy.

      NBN Sky Muster satellite service may not be appropriate for applications that require low network latency such as online gaming, share trading and live streaming. These services are known to perform poorly (or not at all) on satellite broadband services.

      Previously NBN co used the interim very limited over subscribed by 37,000 customers Optus Sat designed for half that number.

      The Sky Muster satellite launched 36,000km into space at the end of October 2015 and will now begin rolling out to some 400,000 eligible customers.

      Sky Muster replaces the NBN’s interim satellite service, which has been oversubscribed and congested, resulting in poor internet connections for thousands of Australians.

      The 37,000 customers currently connected to the interim service are expected to be migrated to the long-term service within a year.

      The rollout schedule aims to connect 85,000 premises by the end of June next year, and a further 50,000 by June 2018.

      “It will take some time to get all eligible premises connected due to the sheer size of our 7.69 million km² country, so we ask for patience as our teams travel around to install the service,” said NBN chief customer officer John Simon.

      • Sure gaming, but why is a low network latency required for share trading and live streaming?

        • We have a comedian.

          Go find the answer at your local free lending library reference section.

          You are so funny Richard. I fell of my my chair laughing so hard. LOL

        • As usual, you’re looking backwards, not forwards.

          With your mentality we should never have gone past 2400 baud dialup, who needed more than that?

          EVERY time there has been a change in available speed, something has come along to utilise it. Every time. Just because I cant think of something that may need 100 Mbps or faster doesnt mean there wont be something that does use it.

          I can immediately think of how my job has changed with better network speeds, changing from a single PC on the floor in 1990 to one of the largest WAN’s in the world.

          But luddites like you think we should have stuck with the stone ages and never move forward. Its ridiculous, and made more ridiculous by the simple fact that so many other countries are moving towards 10 Gbps services.

          But you cant admit that, so choose to take offence at the simplest comment, labelling it hate and bile. Then cant understand why people laugh at you.

        • Low latency share trading is actually “a thing” Richard:


          requires firms to react to market events faster than the competition to increase profitability of trades.

          And they talk in milliseconds:

          What is considered “low” is therefore relative but also a self-fulfilling prophecy. Many organisations are using the words “ultra low latency” to describe latencies of under 1 millisecond, but really what is considered low today will no doubt be considered unacceptable in a few years’ time.

          You’ve said you “make apps”, how about making a low latency trading one and flogging it to people on FttP, you’d probably make a killing.

  6. I don’t think Turnbull gives a shit about the NBN at the moment he’s far too busy trying to win the election and if he fails, it’s all over red rover for him.

  7. It irks me that MT calls it “very fast broadband”. I know we’re not the US, but the FCC’s definition of Broadband is 25mbps or faster. So it’s only *just* broadband, if they actually sync at the 25mbps.

    Do we even have an industry standard of Broadband in Aus?

    • To answer my own question, I found this on ACMA’s website:
      Broadband can be defined as a service with a data rate capability of more than 200 kilobits per second (kbit/s).

      That’s terrible and needs to be updated. Even the FCC had at least 4mbps 5 years ago.

  8. “But that is the problem with generalist journalists — they don’t have the deep domain experience to ask the right questions in a situation like this :(”
    And the ones that do get their career destroyed because they went up against Turnbull.

Comments are closed.