Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Canberra Electorate: Broadband
This chamber has heard many, many times about the trials and tribulations we have had with the NBN here in Canberra and the fact that, until about 18 months ago, Canberra was just one big blank space on the NBN rollout map. We kept looking and looking and looking, but we were just one big blank space. The Turnbull government hadn't even bothered to think about the fact that we might want NBN, despite the fact that we had some of the worst internet speeds not in the country, but in the world—less than one megabit per second in the south-east area of Tuggeranong.
We finally get on the rollout map—hoorah!—we're all looking forward to NBN coming and then there is delay after delay after delay after delay. The time line gets kicked further and further and further down the road. We're also presented with a patchwork of technologies. We've got fibre to the node, fibre to the curb and fibre to the premises—sometimes all in the same street! And then, when we do finally get on the map and we get a time line, when it actually comes to the NBN being rolled out, the experience has been less than optimal.
I want to talk about a few examples of that today. Over the winter break I was contacted by a Canberran who lives in Theodore, which is in that area of south-east Tuggeranong. It's a suburb that's 15 kilometres from where we are here today. His adult son is profoundly deaf and relies on Australian Sign Language. The pair recently attended ACT Magistrates Court and a certified ASL interpreter from Sydney was provided for his son via an iPad. While the interpreter was terrific, the internet connection was not. The constituent wrote:
The link constantly reset and disrupted communication among the parties in attendance. Our experience today is just another example of how poor internet affects us on a daily basis.
Here's someone with a challenge, with a disability, trying to communicate in a court environment. He had a fantastic interpreter, but the NBN let this person down. Someone with a disability, someone who is trying to engage, someone who is trying to realise their potential by engaging normally through a court environment has had their ability to do that significantly hampered by the lack of decent communication services. This is the reality of the NBN in my community. If you're lucky to get the NBN, well you're not that lucky. (Time expired)