Griffith deserves high-speed broadband - Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

Griffith deserves high-speed broadband

In this speech, Terri spoke in the debate in relation to a motion on the NBN.


Related NBN Documents

Terri's Media Release can be found here.

Terri's letter to Malcolm Turnbull is available here.

Terri's second letter to Malcolm Turnbull is available here.


Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (11:16):  I rise to speak in respect of this motion, which relates to the National Broadband Network, or what would have been a national broadband network, had Labor still been in government, but what is now indeed a very second-rate network. In November 2013, the rollout of fibre to 54,000 homes and businesses was to have commenced in my electorate of Griffith. I say 'was to' as it did not commence, because the new government at the time decided against rolling out fibre to my electorate of Griffith. In fact, my electorate is not even on the rollout plan, even for this second-rate version of an NBN. It is ridiculous.

When you think about the mess that has been made of the National Broadband Network under the now Prime Minister, who has been the communications minister for the duration of this government, it is really obvious to see some of the problems and flaws we have had to put up with as a nation. When you think about the decision to move away from fibre to this multi-technology mix idea, including in some cases copper, as we have learnt from the NBN Co's speech to the National Press Club recently, this idea that we are going to replace some copper with copper is absolutely ridiculous. Fancy trying to introduce 1940s technology in the 21st century. The multi-technology mix includes copper but will also rely on HFC cable and ADSL to deliver broadband. At the moment ADSL is used mostly across my electorate, but we have some HFC cable, which I want to talk about. This is absolutely inadequate for the needs of the 21st century.

We all know that there is a communications revolution underway, the likes of which the world has never seen. We all know that a vastly increasing and sharply increasing quantity of data is being transmitted across the internet every day. If you look at some of the projections from Cisco you can see just how sharply that is projected to increase. Yet we are going to be getting only 25 megabits per second under this second-rate NBN. That was to have been delivered by the end of 2016, but it is not even going to be delivered by the end of 2016—that second-rate, 25 megabits per second NBN.

I met with the then communications minister to ask him why we are not getting appropriate rollout of NBN in my electorate of Griffith and he was unable even to tell me how many homes and businesses have connections to HFC cable. But even those who do report to me that they have some difficulties using that HFC connection. So we can talk about the second-rate nature of the NBN and we can talk about the cost blowout. We were told it was going to be $29.5 billion to build the coalition's NBN. It has now blown out to $56 billion. Up to $56 billion from $29.5 billion. We can talk about the fact that the technology is second-rate and that our competitors in places like South Korea will get vastly faster internet speeds than us, and are already getting vastly faster internet speeds than us. We can also talk about the fact that my electorate is not on the rollout plan. But I also wanted to mention some of the actual stories I am hearing about the effects on homes and businesses in my electorate of not having super-fast broadband. Some of the residents have undertaken a survey I have sent out about broadband access in my electorate. This is what some people have had to say in respect of HFC connection.

Liam of Camp Hill says, 'It is too slow and drops out all the time. Our household is two adults and four children, including two high-school students. I do some work from home. There are frequent times when the speed is slow. It is unworkable. This inhibits both my work and my children's school requirements. There is certainly not enough bandwidth for entertainment—Spotify et cetera, Netflix and YouTube—on top of school and work. I have the opportunity for video calls to attend work meetings. The internet connection is too unreliable for me to do so, and as such to not take advantage of the opportunity to work from home, which is particularly annoying with family commitments.' That is one example.

Robert from Camp Hill says, 'Horrible. I have been released from my contract and will be upgrading my connection by downgrading to ADSL, which, ironically, has faster speeds, because it is not overcrowded.'

Daniel of Morningside says, 'No, it does not meet the needs of my household, since the upload speed is so poor. Also, there are three adults living in our house, each with their own computer on the local area network and their phone, which connect via the wireless. If everyone wants to use the internet at the same time it is ultra-slow. We also have a child living in our house, which means that in the future it will only get worse, when he is old enough to use the internet.'

This is why we need Griffith put back onto the NBN. These are just a few of the people who have responded to my survey to tell me about the slow internet speeds in my electorate and the effect it is having on their household.

Debate adjourned.

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