D-Day for Coalition’s dud broadband

Shadow Minister for Communications Jason Clare today said it is D-Day for the Coalition’s dud broadband policy. The Coalition promised that if elected they would conduct a 60-day strategic review. It is now more than 80 days since the election.

It is time for the Government to release the NBN Strategic Review.

“The Government now has the Strategic Review, it was delivered to the Minister today, he should release it today,” Mr Clare said.

The Strategic Review needs to meet the test set for it by the Minister himself.

Two weeks ago Mr Turnbull said, “We want hand on heart true, realistic and achievable options prudently costed and scoped on which we can make weighty decisions.”

“If the Government is going to move to a fibre-to-the-node model, the Strategic Review needs to provide realistic costs to fix and maintain the copper network they are going to use,” Mr Clare said.

“If the Strategic Review doesn’t provide this information it will have failed.

“If the Strategic Review team hasn’t got this information from Telstra and independently audited it, we will not know how much it will cost to build the Coalition’s second rate network.”

“We need this information before any ‘weighty decisions’ are made to switch from fibre-to-the-premises to fibre-to-the-node,” Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland said.

The Strategic Review needs to answer the following questions:

1. How much is it going to cost to for NBN Co to access and use the Telstra copper network that will make its fibre-to-the-node model work?

2. What data has Telstra provided about the copper network? Has it been audited?

3. How much is it going to cost to fix/upgrade the copper network so that it is of a reliable standard?

4. How much is it going to cost to operate and maintain the copper network over the next ten years?

5. Does NBN Co plan to buy or lease the copper network from Telstra?

6. What plans does NBN Co have to utilise the existing HFC network?

7. How does the Government plan to plug the gaps in the HFC network?

8. Will the HFC network be made open access?

9. Given the Government promised to make the NBN easy to convert to a full fibre-to-the-premises network in the future, exactly how will this be done?

10. When does the Government expect this to happen?

11. When will agreements with Telstra, power companies, construction partners, and equipment vendors be completed?

12. How many nodes will be constructed and what will be the maximum distance between a node and a premise?

13. What will the node cost to build, operate and maintain?

14. How will voice services be delivered in a fibre to the node model?

“If the Strategic Review doesn’t answer these questions it will have failed to deliver,” Mr Clare said.