Dud NBN fails 238,000 households and businesses

Australian Labor Party

Scott Morrison’s dud National Broadband Network is failing to deliver the legally-required minimum broadband speed of 25 megabits per second to nearly a quarter of a million Australian homes and businesses.

Despite Communications Minister Paul Fletcher declaring the NBN “built and fully operational”, an NBNCo report released quietly two days before Christmas says the network is failing to meet the legislated minimum download speeds for downloads for up to 238,000 household and businesses.

It is a requirement of both the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer) Act 2020 and the NBN Statement of Expectations that all Australians have access to minimum broadband speeds of 25 megabits per second.

The NBN is $27 billion over budget and four years behind schedule.

With many Australians still working from home while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Morrison Government’s failure to deliver a basic NBN service is a handbrake on Australia’s economic recovery.

The problems with the network are entirely of the Government’s making.

After taking office in 2013, the Government dumped the former Labor Government’s plan for a fibre-to-the-premises NBN, replacing it with a copper-based system that was out of date before it was even built.

Late last year, the Government finally admitted its error, revealing it would have to spend a further $6 billion bringing the NBN into the 21st century.

NBNCo’s report to Minister Fletcher notes:

“The volume of lines that do not satisfy this criteria are continuously changing as lines are improved above 25/5 Mbps through ongoing programs while simultaneously other lines fall below 25/5 Mbps due to environmental and operational factors. This is consistent with global best practice and in-line with or better than other global copper network operators.”

What this spin actually means is the already substandard speeds over the second-rate copper NBN are starting to get even worse because the copper infrastructure is decaying.

The Morrison Government must set out a clear timetable for failing to deliver on their promise and statutory obligations to Australians, and apologise to taxpayers for wasting their money on an inferior copper network.

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