Tuesday, 30 November 2021
Matters of Public Importance
GOODENOUGH () (): Under the management of this government, more than 8.3 million premises have connected to the National Broadband Network, and there are currently 12 million premises ready to connect. What that means is that today almost every home and business in Australia can order a service of at least 25 megabits per second—much faster than was available when the rollout began. In fact, today 77 per cent of homes and businesses are on 50 megabits per second or higher plans. This compares to 70 per cent in October 2020.
Under this government's management, NBN Co continues to deliver strong financial and operating performance. Earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation, including subscriber costs, amounted to $714 million in the first quarter, up from $102 million in the corresponding period last financial year. Total revenue achieved was $1.25 billion, up 17 per cent over the corresponding period last financial year. Over the period 30 June 2021 to 31 October 2021, NBN Co repaid an additional $5.3 billion on the Commonwealth loan facility, reducing the outstanding balance from $13.2 billion to $7.9 billion. This included successfully raising $2.8 billion from the US bond markets in early October.
NBN Co's monthly progress report for October 2021 showed that the network was up and running 99.96 per cent of the time. Average network bandwidth congestion being experienced by NBN consumers was around 21 minutes per week, well below the four hours and 52 minutes of July 2017. Also, 98 per cent of homes and businesses were connected within the target time frames agreed with phone and internet providers, recovering from 89 per cent in March 2021, when issues with a new workforce scheduling system adversely affected some connection and appointment metrics.
Let us contrast this record of achievement with that under Labor. The NBN was a complete mess. After six years of Labor, just 51,000 users were connected to the NBN. Labor paid $6 billion for the NBN to pass just three per cent of Australian premises—a rollout that was so badly managed that contractors downed tools and stopped construction work in four states. Under Labor, the NBN missed every rollout target it set for itself. Labor's approach would have cost billions more, taken years longer to complete and left millions of Australians behind during COVID-19.
Earlier this month, NBN Co announced a sixth tranche of suburbs and towns across Australia that will become eligible to upgrade to NBN's fibre to the premises, with a number of suburbs in my electorate of Moore set to benefit from access to ultrafast broadband. The announcement brings the total to 1.6 million premises of the two million target. This next stage will see another 200,000 premises eligible, many of which are in the Moore electorate, which will drive significant benefits to the community.
NBN Co is working with its construction and delivery partners to get premises across Australia ready to upgrade to ultrafast speeds when they choose to do so. This represents a key part of NBN Co's $3.5 billion investment that will see 75 per cent of Australia's fixed line network able to access ultrafast broadband by 2023. Towns and communities across Australia will benefit from being able to access ultrafast broadband. This will create jobs in the community, ensure local businesses can access the speeds they need to thrive, and improve connectivity for families in the entire region. The city of Joondalup has the potential to evolve into a digital hub supporting software development, cybersecurity, advanced information technology— (Time expired)