Standing up for Canberra

Transcript: Breakfast with Tim Shaw

SUBJECTS: NBN, ACCC; Telstra

TIM SHAW: I want to get Gai Brodtmann's reaction to the announcements yesterday by Telstra and actually an obfuscation back from the NBN that it’s not all been the NBN's fault. Gai Brodtmann is on the line. Were you shocked, surprised by the announcement made by Telstra yesterday and this morning by Optus that they're looking to compensate tens of thousands of customers? What's your reaction?

GAI BRODTMANN: This is an issue that came up during the NBN Committee's consultation that was conducted over 12 months around the country. I wasn't surprised. It just underscores the fact the Turnbull Government is spending $50 billion of taxpayers money on a second rate network that is denying consumers the speeds that they are willing to pay for.

The figures released by the ACCC paint a more shocking picture in the fact that 56 percent of consumers who have been sold a 100 megabit per second package were on a copper connection that was not fit for purpose. So it's not a surprise. It is a concern, though. Australians and Canberrans deserve a better deal on the NBN and Labor is fighting for that.

SHAW: What would Labor do? If you were in Government today what would you do right now?

BRODTMANN: We would do a review of where we are at. Stories are emerging, and they came through the NBN Committee and what I’ve been hearing here in Canberra.

I've been pushing for Canberra to be put on the rollout map and finally we were put on the rollout map earlier this year. Now I'm pushing for Canberra to be prioritised on the rollout map because we've got a lot of Canberra that is not going to receive the NBN until late next year, early 2019 or 2020. We need to be prioritised.

I also want to ensure we don't have the patchwork of technology that is being promised at the moment. We've got fibre to the curb, fibre to the premise and fibre to the node often in one street and that is a real concern for me. You're getting a variable quality of speeds, services and internet connection across just one street in Canberra. I've highlighted to you many times, Tim, that South East Tuggeranong has been getting less than one megabit per second. Speaking to Eddie before - I understand someone rang in from Theodore - and they were getting less than one megabit per second for upload and download. This is simply unacceptable in 2017 in the nation's capital. Simply unacceptable.

People can’t work from home and conduct their home businesses. They can't engage in educational opportunities or active citizenry opportunities because of these appalling speeds. I want Canberra prioritised, but I also want it to get the best service possible. If that can't be fibre to the premise, which I want to see right across the electorate, then fibre to the curb.

SHAW: Gai I want to thank you for your time today, there is a lot more to unfold on this. Rod Sims has of course asked those companies - the retail service providers - to deliver outcomes within the first 30 days of his inquiry. He's hoping for a broader and more comprehensive report by the end of February. Would you agree with me today that retail service providers and not the NBN Co. have been responsible for raising the expectations of consumers and it's admissions from Telstra and Optus this morning that in some part obfuscate NBN for the finger pointing that has taken place?

BRODTMANN: We need some transparency around this to get a clear idea about what is actually happening. Labor has been calling for greater transparency on this in terms of maximum speeds on the copper NBN network for a very long time and we continue to call for that.

SHAW: Thanks so much for your time Gai Brodtmann have a good day.

BRODTMANN: Thanks Tim.