Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘facts’ around updates to the National Broadband Network rollout map and whether he will honour existing contracts still leaves uncertainty for many Tasmanians, according to Digital Tasmania spokesperson Andrew Connor.
Turnbull released an updated version of the NBN rollout map that removes thousands of homes across Australia. He released a statement outlining his “facts” on the NBN rollout in response to Connor’s comments that the Coalition had delayed the rollout in Tasmania due to changes in the map.
“The new maps reflect only areas where physical construction has begun, meaning that those communities have greater certainty about when the network will be active and when they can expect to order their services," Turnbull said.
“Labor created a misleading metric of ‘construction commenced or completed’, which was initiated as soon as high level planning began and was designed to create the impression that there was far more construction activity than was actually the case.
“Labor went to the last election with the rollout forecast for June 30, 2014, cut by almost 50 per cent with only around 600,000 premises in brownfield areas across Australia expected to be passed by fibre. The NBN Co has advised the government that with the revised Statement of Expectations, it expects to be able to reach approximately that same number of premises by June 30.”
However, Connor said Turnbull’s statement doesn’t create any more certainty when it comes to Tasmanian homes that have been contracted to recieve fibre-to-the-premise. He said the updated rollout map could still mean that FTTP will be scraped, which would go against the Coalition’s commitment to honour existing contracts in Tasmania.
“Changing it in Tasmania is contrary to their pre-election statements here of continuing the rollout as planned. One Liberal Senator for Tasmania was quoted saying that they have already factored in the cost of doing fibre all the way in Tassie. Nowhere did they mention that they were [still] going to honour that commitment [yesterday],” Connor said.
“It's reasonable to assume that the rollout for areas currently not indicated on NBN Co maps will be delayed for some time by government initiated reviews and a probable change of technology to fibre-to-the-node.”
Connor said he has voiced his concerns to Turnbull, but has not yet received a response.
“We hope they will honour their commitment they made to Tassie. They simply can’t save any time or money because it is already contracted and changing course now would only put us backwards.
“Most consumers just want to see this happen, but I understand it does take time. It took 100 years plus for the phone network to get where it is and to do fibre across Tassie on five years is pretty good.”