Turnbull won't deliver NBN, Conroy says

Stephen Conroy has hit back at Malcolm Turnbull's broadband survey

Communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy has lambasted Malcolm Turnbull for launching a broadband survey without detailing the Coalition's National Broadband Network (NBN) policy.

Conroy said Turnbull, the shadow broadband minister, is continuing to mislead the public with statements about consumers paying less under a Coalition NBN.

“Entry level NBN broadband plans are equal to or cheaper than existing plans. NBN Co has committed to the ACCC and in its corporate plan that prices will decline in real and nominal terms,” Conroy said in a statement.

“Turnbull also misleads the Australian public about the speeds he can deliver. Seventy-five per cent of customers could not get the download speed of 80Mbps that he advertises.”

Conroy also again attacked the Coalition’s use of the copper network, which would form part of a fibre-to-the-node architecture solution for the NBN, stating copper would not be able to provide Australia’s future broadband needs.

“Mr Turnbull can’t deliver what he has promised, and won’t deliver what we need,” he said.

Turnbull's survey is intended to determine where the worst performing areas are in Australia in terms of broadband connectivity to prioritise where the NBN needs to be rolled out. This would eventually form part of the Coalition's NBN plan.

However, while Turnbull has repeatedly stated the Coalition could provide a cheaper and faster NBN, he is yet to provide figures on how much sooner or cheaper the Coalition would be able to roll out the NBN, telling ABC Radio's AM program it is unable to produce a costed analysis of its NBN plan as it is unaware of the “extent to which [NBN Co] have made commitments”.

While a fibre-to-the-node solution could be rolled out more cheaply than NBN Co's fibre-to-the-home, a recent report by BIS Shrapnel found a FTTH solution could save up to $700 million a year in telecommunications maintenance.

Adrian Hart, senior manager at BIS Shrapnel, said a fibre-to-the-node network could dramatically impact on any maintenance cost savings due to the solution still employing copper to the premises. This would result in additional maintenance costs associated with maintaining copper.

“We don’t have an estimate of fibre-to-the-node versus fibre-to-the-premises [solution], but you could be looking at several hundred million dollars worth of difference between the two strategies,” he said.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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