news The Australian Labor Party has criticised a Government statement saying NBN Co has “exceeded” its targets for the financial year 2016, suggesting that the national broadband network is actually “hardly on target”.
The statement’s “glowing interpretation” of the NBN results stands in “stark contrast to the real-world experiences of millions of Australians who continue to be denied access to high quality and affordable broadband,” Michelle Rowland, Shadow Minister For Communications, said in a statement.
Citing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s 2013 pledge that all Australians would have access to the NBN by the end of 2016, Rowland said: “Having broken that promise, he is building a copper-based network replete with customer complaints and failed expectations.”
In areas where customers have only a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) connection, she said issues such as “snail-like” peak Internet speeds, “regular” drop outs, and “buck-passing” between NBN and retail service providers are being experienced.
“For many Australians, the simple question of when they will have access to real high-speed broadband cannot be answered by this Government,” Rowland said.
To back up her statements, the Shadow Minister told of how, at a community forum in Rockhampton, Queensland, on Monday, Labor Leader Bill Shorten heard from a local resident who allegedly said he “enjoyed quicker Internet speeds in Cambodia than in his own home”.
“It’s little wonder that Australia dropped from 30th to 60th in the world for Internet speeds on Malcolm Turnbull’s watch,” Rowland said.
According to NBN Co, an average household has nine connected devices today and predictions are this will increase to 29 devices by 2020.
In response, the Shadow Minister said: “It beggars belief that such a lack of future-proofing in the choice of copper-based technology will be adequate for Australia’s needs.”
“Only Labor understands that real high-speed broadband is essential for jobs, for small businesses, world-class education and health care, and that this can only be achieved with a first-rate fibre NBN,” she concluded.
In its statement on targets, released yesterday, NBN Co said that in the financial year ending 30 June 2016, it had achieved 2.9 million premises ready for service and over a million users on the NBN network.
It also doubled the number of premises within the footprint of the NBN network and also doubled the number of end users, according to the firm’s figures.
Additionally, with 126% growth in the number of end users on the network, revenue was reported as climbing 157% to $421 million.
In response to the figures, Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications, said the results are the “latest evidence of the benefits of the Coalition’s faster, more affordable NBN rollout”.
Image credit: Parliamentary Broadcasting