National Broadband Promise Broken

Tassie suburbs wiped off the National Broadband Network map

National Broadband

MORE than 150,000 Tasmanian homes and businesses will miss out on fibre optic cable to their door because of Abbott Government changes to the National Broadband Network, a consumer group warns.

Suburbs to miss out on the premium NBN service include Sandy Bay, New Town, North Hobart, Mount Stuart, Mount Nelson and many parts of the Eastern Shore.

Large areas of Devonport, Burnie and Launceston would also have their service downgraded.

The Coalition Government’s less expensive but slower NBN alternative involves fibre optic to street cabinets, with copper wire connection to the premises.

Digital Tasmania spokesman Andrew Connor said new NBN maps showing only areas where the fibre optic rollout was already substantially advanced would be continued as originally planned.

“NBN Co’s online rollout maps have been stripped of plans to start fibre-to-the-premises construction within one to three years around the state,” he said.

NBN Co executive chairman Ziggy Switkowski confirmed maps were being updated on the NBN Co website.

“This will provide residents with clarity around those areas where (a) the physical building of the NBN has started or (b) is about to start (c) as well as locations where services are already available,” he said.

“The maps will be updated when further areas enter the building stage and the shape of the rollout becomes clearer following the completion of the Strategic Review into the NBN.”

An NBN spokesman said: “Every community in Tasmania will still receive the NBN. Nobody misses out.”

But Mr Connor said the changes were contrary to a promise made by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to honour existing NBN contracts.

In July 2012, NBN Co announced that it had contracted Visionstream for $300 million to complete a fibre-to-the-premises rollout to 200,000 homes and businesses in Tasmania by the end of 2015.

Mr Connor said the fibre-to-the-node alternative would create a digital divide between neighbouring streets and suburbs that would affect home prices.

About 36,000 premises had so far been passed by the fibre optic cable in Tasmania, with up to half of those connected.

He said fibre to the node would result in failures because of its reliance on the “decrepit” Telstra copper network.

“City fringes will be especially affected with many areas on the previous NBN plans to be completed by 2015 having current issues obtaining any reliable fixed broadband option,” he said.

Civil Contractors Federation chief executive Tony Cook said the change appeared to be a matter of the definition of existing contracts.

“The Federal Government has had a look at whether contracts had commenced and if the ground hasn’t been broken the rollout hasn’t really commenced,”he said.

Premier Lara Giddings said it appeared that up to 60 suburbs had been slashed from the NBN rollout.

“The Liberals’ promise to honour existing NBN contracts has been shown to be a complete lie,” Ms Giddings said.

“Comparing rollout maps on the NBN Co website from before and after the election it appears that whole suburbs and towns have been completely abandoned.”

Sourced from The Mercury

So as expected it didn’t take long for the pre election promise that all Tasmanian contracts will be honoured under the coalition government. It’s time for you to have your voice heard by signing the petition on Save Tassie’s NBN (Authorised by John Dowling, 2/63 Salamanca Pl, Hobart • Australian Labor Party)

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