House debates

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Constituency Statements

Sydney Electorate: Broadband

10:00 am

Photo of Tanya PlibersekTanya Plibersek (Sydney, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

When Labor started building the National Broadband Network it was the largest, most important infrastructure project in recent Australian history. But since coming to office in 2013 the Liberals have completely let us down, doubling the cost and delivery time for this vital piece of infrastructure.

Of course, it's a huge issue in the electorate of Sydney, which is why I've invited Labor's shadow minister for communications, Michelle Rowland, to a community forum this coming Monday night at the Alexandria Town Hall. This will be an opportunity for residents of the electorate of Sydney to tell us about their experiences of the government's NBN fail. I've heard so many of these stories already. For years, people in my community have been literally stopping me in the street to tell me about their frustrations with the government's poor delivery, about bad connections, about missed appointments, about recurring faults, about connection dropouts, about noise complaints and about agonisingly slow speeds.

There are 181,300 premises in the electorate of Sydney, and one in three of them is on copper or hybrid fibre co-axial. Fibre to the node and hybrid fibre co-axial copper have twice as many faults as the other technologies and make up over 33.8 per cent of the connections in the electorate of Sydney. Many residents run small businesses from home, so they really rely on a reliable internet connection to make a living. Their connection, when it's fibre to the node, simply doesn't give them the speeds they need. Businesses have contacted me about long periods without service, and sometimes being unable to get answers from their internet providers.

A survey by the New South Wales Business Chamber reported businesses losing up to $9,000 on average due to disruptions and having a poor experience when migrating to the NBN. No wonder, then, that a recent survey from found that over a third of NBN users would switch back to their old service if they could. I've had a couple of examples. Joshua from Alexandria needs reliable internet for his work. He said: 'Our NBN schedule has been pushed back three times since moving into our newly-built apartment block. It's now scheduled for June-July 2020. We cannot get an alternative connection, such as fibre to the building, because we don't meet the minimum unit requirement. I require fast internet for my job, and at this rate 2020 is just not going to cut it.' Jeff from Newtown has spent two years with constant daily dropouts. He's had eight modems and over seven technicians visiting, but still the line continues to drop out. (Time expired)