NBN in regional Australia

Stephen Jones MP

Stephen Jones MP

Shadow Minister for Regional Communications, Stephen Jones MP, has called the freshly launched nbn local public relations initiative ‘a clear admission of guilt that the NBN is failing regional Australia’.

He said this failure was highlighted by the recent Parliamentary NBN Committee Report which found a litany of problems with the NBN in regional Australia.

“The announcement by NBN in Coffs Harbour today to focus on regional Australia to deal with the backlog of customer issues is a clear indication of their failure to provide adequate services in regional and rural areas,” Mr Jones said.

“It has been evident for more than a year that not all is going well with the NBN rollout in regional Australia.”

The Parliament’s NBN Committee consulted with business, industry and residents over a 12 month period and identified systemic issues of faults, failed connections, reliability and chronic speed issues occurring across the network.

The committee  highlighted 23 recommendations to help improve customer service, technology improvements, handling of complaints and transparency including:

•           The Government direct and enable NBN to complete as much as possible of the remaining fixed line network using Fibre to the Curb at a minimum where feasible, and require NBN to produce a costed plan and timetable under which that would be achieved.

•           The urgent need for new consumer and supplier rights which provide protections, wholesale service-levels and remedies for service failures

•           The introduction of a new business grade product specifically geared towards small business

•           An overhaul of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman to give it more power and ability to resolve consumer disputes

•           The Government should ensure that digital inclusion is measured and reported

•           The introduction of a regional and remote reference group to support the rollout of the NBN in rural and remote Australia

“Today’s announcement is a recognition of the crisis of confidence surrounding the NBN,” Mr Jones said.

“Until the Turnbull Government directs NBN to ditch it’s second-rate copper NBN in favour of fibre, NBN services will never meet customer expectations.”