Standing up for Canberra

Transcript: Interview with Dan Bourchier, 27 February 2017

SUBJECTS: National Broadband Network 

DAN BOURCHIER: Have you been waiting for the NBN to arrive? The national broadband network updated its address checker function on its website overnight. It aims to make it easier for people to find out when they will be able to connect to the NBN network. Previously the website only told people when construction would begin in certain areas, not when the service would actually be available. To discuss this, I'm joined by Labor MP for Canberra Gai Brodtmann, good morning.

GAI BRODTMANN: Good morning Dan, how are you?

BOURCHIER: Very well thank you, thanks for joining me. What do you think of the new nbn connection information?

BRODTMANN: Well, I’ve just had a look at it this morning and I'm going to be taking a closer look at it over the course of this week. But it suggests that the suburbs where Canberrans are getting less than 1 megabit per second download and upload seem to be now on the map. This has been my major complaint, which is why I launched the ‘Send Me Your Speeds Campaign’ - the campaign the get NBN prioritised in Canberra because we weren’t even on the map.

Large parts of Canberra that were getting less than 1 megabit per second download and upload speeds weren’t even on the nbn’s rollout map - the post 2019 map. So it's interesting to see that those parts that are particularly bad in terms of speeds, like Theodore and Macarthur, that there seems to be a plan for them now with dates suggested between July and September 2018.

There seems to be a technology mix though - fibre to the premises, fibre to the curb and fibre to the node. So again, I’m going to be taking a closer look at all of that - what that actually mean for those suburbs, what that means for those Canberrans - and also get a greater understanding about what this map means in terms of the rollout.

BOURCHIER: Gai Brodtmann, why were so many of those areas missed out particularly as you mentioned, some suburbs have 1 megabit upload download speed?

BRODTMANN: That's a very good question Dan, and that's the question I’ve been asking for the last 18 months. I've petitioned the government not once but twice, and I’ve got a new petition going now. I’ve written to the Minister countless times, I’ve made countless speeches on this and I still haven’t got a good, comprehensive and satisfactory answer on why those suburbs were being left off the rollout map given the fact the need was obviously there - less than 1 megabit per second download and upload.

I’ve spoken to small business people who, in theory, should be able to work from home or operate their small businesses from home. I spoke to a woman a few weeks ago – she actually has to go to a local cafe to conduct her business. Another man I spoke to has to hire office space - go to all the expense of hiring office space - because he can’t work from home. And it’s not just having an impact on small businesses and their ability to operate from home, but also the education opportunities for school children. They can’t download their homework because they just don’t have the speeds. It has a significant impact on Canberrans in so many ways. I'll be taking a closer look at what this all means.

BOURCHIER: Yes certainly, please keep us up to date on any developments.


BOURCHIER: Gai Brodtmann, thank you very much. That was the Canberra Labor MP, Gai Brodtmann responding to the announcement or the details we've seen this morning that you can now find out exactly when your home will be able to be connected to the NBN. I wonder what this will mean for you, for your business or for your family.