Canberra's NBN - 15/03/2021

15 March 2021



I rise today to highlight the incredibly poor state of Canberra's NBN infrastructure and call on the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts to commit to funding the necessary and vital upgrades our city needs. Yet again this government is abandoning our nation's capital, where we have some of the worst NBN in the country. The NBN designed by the last Labor government was supposed to be a transformational infrastructure project. If implemented as intended, all Australians would now have access to fast, reliable and workable NBN. Unfortunately, Labor lost government, and Tony Abbott set about destroying Labor's vision for this country. Top of his list was the NBN. By now we all know the story: instead of Labor's 21st century fibre-to-the-premises network, we got a mix match of technologies that doesn't do the job and includes ancient copper networks that simply do not work properly. What is the result of this for Australians? It is some of the worst internet connections in the world. Australia now ranks 61st in the world for band speeds. That is shocking. When you look at exactly how bad the internet is spread across the country, it becomes clear that Canberrans have some of the worst. Of every capital city in this nation, Canberra has by far the worst NBN infrastructure. Around 70 per cent of the network in Canberra is made up of the substandard fibre-to-the-node technology, including almost all of my electorate, where this building is located. No other capital city is nearly this bad.

In September last year, Minister Fletcher and the NBN announced they would be investing a further $3.5 billion in order to fix the mess they've created over the almost decade of coalition neglect. The goal stated is to make the highest wholesale speed tiers currently offered by the NBN available to up to 75 per cent of homes and businesses. To date, the NBN has announced upgrades to suburbs in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia yet the ACT, with some of the worst internet in the country, hasn't had one suburb on that list. I wrote to the minister in early February and he is yet to respond to me. NBN Co have responded and I will meet with them but they have also failed to make a commitment to deliver decent NBN to our nation's capital. This is unacceptable, and I demand that the government take action to give our nation's capital better internet. This is really just unacceptable. I call on minister to ensure that the ACT is included in these upgrades so that our city is not left behind.