Transcript: 2CC Canberra Live, 24 January 2017



COLEMAN: There's a new article that Kim Fischer has done for the RiotACT. Kim Fischer has had a look at the roll out plan for the National Broadband Network, and if you are a Canberra resident who does not have the NBN, well, I don't think you're going to like what you're about to hear. 14 months ago NBN Co. was predicting that 18 of Belconnen’s 25 suburbs would have commenced NBN construction by now. Instead, all residents of Belconnen will have to wait until at least June 2019 to receive access. Weston Creek has been moved to the back of the pack, as have half the suburbs of Woden Valley and Central Canberra. And Tuggeranong, well, you might get something in June 2019 as well. This is basically half of Canberra, the Nation’s Capital, not being able to be hooked up to the National Broadband Network in anything approaching a reasonable period of time. Gai Brodtmann, Member for Canberra, you have spoken about the lack of availability and the seeming contempt which the people of Canberra are being treated with, by the NBN Co. on numerous occasions. Good afternoon.

BRODTMANN: Good afternoon, and I have spoken on numerous occasions on this issue for the last 18 months, and I'm not going to stop in 2017.

COLEMAN: What can we do? You know, what can we do? In all seriousness, because, it seems, you and I could talk about this and say it's not good enough. But what can we actually do? You know, should we be storming the cyber castle of NBN Co., and inundating them with emails and phone calls and saying no, not good enough?

BRODTMANN: Well, I think that we should be storming the Minister, because the buck stops with him, and I have petitioned him not once but twice over the last 18 months. I've written to him a number of times. I've spoken about this issue endlessly in Parliament. The Government is not listening. This is important to Canberra. Just 15kms from Parliament House we've got people with internet speeds of less than one megabit per second. I think we should be showing the Government what this actually means. So that's why I've got my 'Send Me Your Speeds Campaign'.

COLEMAN: Okay, let's start with that then, Gai. How do people send their internet speeds to you, and what happens with it once it's been done?

BRODTMANN: Well, after they download it, just send it to me at What I'm doing is collecting them and then I'm going to table them in the House, and send them on to the Minister. I did a post on this just recently - just after a piece I did in the Canberra Times. I've got people in Theodore, with two to three megabits per second, one megabit per second. I spoke to a woman the other day who runs her own consulting business, and she can't work from home. She actually has to go and sit in a cafe to get an internet connection. There is also another issue going on at the moment. We're not even on the NBN roll out map. We're planned for January to June 2019, that's what it says for most of Canberra. I've got this woman who has no internet connection at home, and she's having to go to a cafe to run her business. It's unacceptable. It's unacceptable in 2017, in the nation’s capital, in a country like Australia.

COLEMAN: I've had an experience, and I appreciate I live on the northside, so Gai I'm one of those evil northsiders.

BRODTMANN: *Laugh* No.

COLEMAN: But, over the Christmas break, I've moved into a brand new housing development. You know it's the joys of taking a redundancy package from a different broadcasting organisation 12 months ago, was that I could actually jump on the property roundabout here in Canberra. 

BRODTMANN: *Laugh* Yes.

COLEMAN: The brand new housing development, we settled before Christmas. Still no NBN, and not likely to be. Now in our case, it will be there in another few weeks’ time, but it's kind of ludicrous that new housing developments when people can move in aren't ready, especially when they're in suburbs like that. But, I've also heard, from people in NBN re-sellers that there are some places that are in NBN ready suburbs that aren't going to be connected up for six and 12 months. The delays in this corporation seem to be endemic.

BRODTMANN: Absolutely. Well at least they're actually on the map, or these people are ready to go. But as you say, the delay is unacceptable. I've had endless meetings with NBN Co, made endless representations to the Minister. I'm just going to keep up this campaign, because for my electorate, I'm looking at actually getting it prioritised. Given the fact that we have these absolutely outrageous speeds, or non-existent speeds - one megabit per second. It's just unacceptable in the nation’s capital. So yes, there's a number of issues here. There's the issue of not even being on the NBN roll out map. There's the issue of actually being ready to go and not being connected. We've got the issue of these people - I've got a number of them, particularly in the south east part of the electorate - who can't get connected through another system. So there's a number of challenges that we are facing at the moment, and I can tell you I get messages on this every day from members of the community.

COLEMAN: Now Gai I've had one person say to me - and this was a couple of months ago - they said, "But surely for Canberra it doesn't matter. Wasn't the NBN supposed to be rolled out in places where the internet was rubbish first up and then into the larger centres."

BRODTMANN: This Prime Minister said when he was Minister for Communications before the 2013 Election that all households would have 25 megabits per second by 2016. So, that's what the Government has made a commitment on, and unfortunately we're seeing things continually move to the right. So I’m going to keep campaigning for Canberra to be prioritised, particularly those areas that are just sub-standard. One megabit or below one megabit per second.

COLEMAN: Gai, where are you asking people to go to, to do the speed test? Is it any speed test service they want to use?

BRODTMANN: Yes, there's a number of them. There's a particular site that a number of Canberrans have recommended to me, and that's what I recommend to them when they ask me, but there are a number of other options too. It's upload and download.

COLEMAN: Well Gai, I'll pop you back to Jeff and you can pass on the details, and we'll pop it up on our Facebook and our Twitter so that people can just click through and do it more easily. Thank you for talking to us this afternoon on Canberra Live.

BRODTMANN: My pleasure. Thank you very much.


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