‘Absolutely not’: No regrets ditching NBN FTTP rollout, says Pyne

Innovation minister quizzed on decision to ditch all-fibre NBN rollout

The government’s industry, innovation and science minister says the Coalition does not regret the decision to ditch the fibre to the premises (FTTP) blueprint for the National Broadband Network.

“With the delay of the rollout of the NBN, with the money paid to Telstra and also with the less-than-desirable technical outcome of the hybrid copper solution, does the government regret that political decision that it’s made not to persist with the original fibre to premises rollout?” Q&A audience member Sarah Riley asked during last night’s episode of the ABC program.

“Absolutely not,” replied Pyne.

“There has not been a delay of the NBN,” the minister added.

“If Labor was still in power, the NBN would not be being delivered for four years longer than it would be under Malcolm Turnbull’s management,” Pyne said.

“When we took office in 2013, there were 55,000 customers of the NBN. There are now 955,000... Labor had missed their targets by 83 per cent, they had no idea how much it was costing. Because of Malcolm Turnbull’s management of the NBN, it will all be finished by 2020, not 2024 as Labor was promising, with speeds that people want and need.”

The broadband policy the Coalition took to the 2013 election said that it aimed to have everyone able to access broadband with download speeds of 25-100 megabits per second by 2016 and between 50 and 100Mbps by the end of 2019 in 90 per cent of the fixed line footprint.

The total funding for the Coalition’s rollout, which would be based on a mix of fixed line technologies not just FTTP, would be $29.5 billion, the policy estimated. Labor estimated its rollout would cost $44.1 billion, although the Coalition argued $94 billion was a “more realistic” estimate for the FTTP blueprint.

NBN revealed in 2015 that its revised forecasts pegged peak funding at $46 billion to $56 billion for the multi-technology mix rollout endorsed by the government, with the company's management aiming for $49 billion.

NBN has once again been mired in controversy after AFP raids on an office of Labor Senator Stephen Conroy and the homes of Labor staffers. Those raids came in response to a NBN internal documents being leaked.

The leaked documents were used by Labor to attack the state of the NBN rollout.

Follow Rohan on Twitter: @rohan_p

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