QWON - Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull - progress on NBN plan for Indi
Posted March 05, 2015
CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (14:15): My question is to the Minister for Communications. Minister, problems with broadband remain one of the most prevailing issues raised by my constituents in Indi. Can you tell the House what the situation is with the NBN in Indi, and what is the plan to finish the job? A detailed answer by local government areas in Indi, including time lines, and a comment about the situation in Indi more broadly would help me answer constituents' queries.
Mr MALCOLM TURNBULL (Wentworth—Minister for Communications) (14:16): I thank the honourable member for her question. The detailed line by line information I will give the honourable member separately. In the last few days, four fixed wireless sites in the north of Indi have been activated. They are at Ebden, Kiewa, Kiewa South and Baranduda. There are now 2,090 premises in her electorate passed by the fixed wireless service, with another 1,100 premises connected to the interim satellite service. While the fixed wireless rollout is progressing apace, there is work underway on towers covering more than 6,000 premises in her electorate. This work is going on in almost all honourable members' electorates around the country. I note, too, that the NBN has released its 18-month rollout plan, and that includes another 4,000 premises and a fixed wireless footprint in Alexandra, Chilton,
Mansfield, Myrtleford and around Wangaratta and Wodonga. Work on the fixed line rollout will begin by June next year in Wangaratta and Waldara, covering 8,000 premises.
What honourable members will appreciate is that NBN Co is now very much under new management. It is adopting a customer focused approach focused on ensuring that the customer gets the broadband speed they need, will value and will pay for regardless of technology. We are using a mixture of technologies. I want to acknowledge that there is a big difference between our approach and the approach of the Labor Party. Labor thought that they knew everything. They thought they were the depository, repository and, indeed, as the Prime Minister observes, suppository of all wisdom on broadband. But they were not. In the coalition we believe in
getting global experience. We looked around the world at what other telcos were doing.
I want to acknowledge today the great help that we have had from Swisscom, the leading Swiss telecommunications company. Their senior project director, Klaus Liechti, is here in the gallery. Klaus has been of enormous assistance to us, and I want to thank his CEO, Urs Schaeppi, for allowing us to benefit from the experience of Swisscom. Like the NBN Co, they started off with an all-fibre model, realised it was too slow and too expensive and are now using a mixed technology model, as indeed is Deutsche Telekom and as is any wellresourced, financially minded telco around the world. What NBN Co is doing today is best global practice, and we have our Swiss engineering friends to vouch for that as well. I thank them.