Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Chifley Electorate: Broadband
I just want to start by congratulating the member for Deakin on his basketball skills—the best player never to actually go on a court!
One of the issues that have affected constituents in the Chifley electorate has been a long-running concern about access to broadband service and quality broadband service. I have previously spoken up for residents living in the suburb of Woodcroft, and we have worked for a number of years to improve their service. While in many cases we have made some headway, there is still a way to go. We are still pushing for them to be connected to the NBN, and that battle continues unabated.
However, I have been surprised over the course of the last 12 months to receive an increasing number of complaints from residents in Glendenning, just down the road. They have started to inform me about some of the problems that they have been experiencing.
I recently, at the tail end of October, held a forum to bring together residents to hear firsthand the types of problems that they were experiencing. To be quite frank and direct about it, I was staggered by what I was hearing. In some cases residents were telling me that their home line in Glendenning would maybe get a speed of one megabit per second download, but that was then beaten by another resident who piped up and said, 'I'd be lucky to get half a megabit per second download speed,' which is just astounding. They have basically called for us to stand up, to speak up, to put a spotlight on their concerns—and rightly so.
They have complained about a number of different things. Not only do they feel that they have been treated indifferently by telecommunications providers but in one case, for example, someone was offered a video-streaming service by one telecommunications provider, in an area where you could not even get one megabit per second download speed, so it seemed redundant and they had to withdraw from the service as result.
They have also rightly asked: when are they getting the NBN? From their point of view, they cannot put up with that slow service. They are forced to rely in some cases on the mobile network, which admittedly is 30 times faster—on speed tests I conducted on the night—in that area, but it costs more, and the data is limited. They should not be forced to rely upon that network if, in particular, they are working from home.
That is a big issue. More and more people choose to work from home and stagger their work times, particularly in Sydney, where congestion means that people do prefer not to get on packed roads at certain points in time. They want to be able to work from home. They require a modern broadband network. They are not getting it. They need to have their service fixed now, and they need answers from the Turnbull government. When is the NBN going to roll out to them? At the moment, there is absolutely no indication of when that is going to happen.