Wednesday, 12 October 2016 08:42

Turnbull says NBN represents 'great corporate turnaround' Featured


Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has hailed the multi-technology mix national broadband network being rolled out by his government as "one of the great corporate turnarounds in Australia's history".

Responding to a question from opposition shadow communications spokesman Michelle Rowland in parliament on Tuesday, Turnbull said the NBN was a complete catastrophe and a failed project under the Labor Party before the Coalition had changed its direction.

Rowland's question revolved around recent changes to the NBN; the NBN Co stated that the Optus HFC network would not be used for the rollout as planned earlier, and the premises it had been intended to cover would now be served by fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FttDP) connections instead. She said this would increase the cost of these connections.

Turnbull did not answer the question directly, but said that under Labor, construction of the NBN had stopped in many parts of Australia and in other parts it had barely started.

"We put in a new board, new management, new business plan, and they are getting on with the job. Unlike the Labor Party, we do not turn technology into ideology. They make the same mistake with telecommunications as they do with climate policy and renewables policy," said Turnbull who was communications minister from 2013 until September 2015 in the government headed by Tony Abbott.

"What is the object? Getting people connected to the Internet with very fast broadband. That is the goal. How do you do it? You do it in the most cost-effective way using the resources you
have, where they are, and you design a technique that suits circumstances. That is what we are doing."

He said the Coalition could have stuck with Labor's "ideological plan, which would have cost another $30 billion and taken six to eight years longer".

NBN Co was connecting new customers at the rate of about 90,000 every four weeks, Turnbull said, adding that 3.2 million premises were now able to access the NBN, while 1.37 million had using the network.

"In six years, Labor connected 50,000. The company is doing as much in two weeks as Labor did in its whole term in government. It is rolling out. Half of Australia's premises will have access by 30 June next year. The company forecasts that it will be three quarters by 30 June 2018, and the project will be completed in 2019-20," he said.

He added that the "turnaround of the NBN is one of the great achievements of the coalition government".

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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