Thursday, 20 June 2013
Questions without Notice
National Broadband Network
I thank the senator for her ongoing interest in the National Broadband Network and for the question. Her interest is in how the Australian people are embracing the opportunities created by the NBN. Of the many methods that are being peddled by those opposite, one is that Australians neither want nor need high-speed broadband. The story that gets peddled by the media is the claim that take-up is slow.
Let me give you just two examples. The Australian Financial Review, on 10 August last year, editorialised about supposed slow take-up rates. As recently as 21 March, the Australian claimed that slow take-up rates by consumers was a problem for NBN Co. But nothing could be further from the truth. Last December, I first compared take-up of the NBN to the take-up of fibre networks around the world and previous technologies here in Australia. In Europe, after three years of fibre in the home being available, the average take up is 21 per cent. In Singapore, up to 3½ years after it has had fibre to the home, it has a take-up rate of 20 per cent. After six years here in Australia of ADSL, the ABS found in 2006 that there was a 28 per cent take-up rate.
Compare that to what we are seeing around Australia today. Take-up of the NBN is now over 37 per cent in areas that have been connected for just six months. NBN Co.'s take-up rates here in Australia are world records. Given the opportunity to connect to fibre, Australians are signing up in droves. But those opposite—
At Senate estimates in May, NBN Co. provided a full update on NBN take-up rates. The first release sites of Kiama and Willunga are still the areas with the highest take-up rates of 66 per cent and 65 per cent respectively. The more Australians see of the NBN, the faster they are signing up. One of the areas here in the ACT, Gungahlin, switched on just six months ago. Fifty-two per cent of households have already chosen an NBN service. In six months it has been 52 per cent.
I will get to that. In another part of Gungahlin, which was switched on just over two months ago, 40 per cent of premises have already elected to take an NBN service. This is a pattern right across— (Time expired)
At the joint committee on the NBN in April, NBN Co. noted that 36 per cent of end users were selecting a speed of 50 megabits per second or more. But these people are clearly misguided, according to the Leader of the Opposition. That is because, at Mr Abbott's policy launch, this is what Mr Abbott told all Australians:
… we are absolutely confident that 25 megs is going to be enough, more than enough, for the average household.
Just three years ago, Mr Abbott, on national television, could not even explain the difference between average and peak speeds. But now Mr Abbott claims to know exactly what Australian households need: 25 megs. That is all families need! At the launch of the Digital Careers program last week, I met 12-year-olds who knew more about IT than Tony Abbott. (Time expired)