Back-off on NBN pledge as Turnbull takes swipe at rollout contractor
HOPES Tasmania would have the nation’s best broadband network appear dashed. Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has retreated from promises to deliver the NBN directly to the majority of Tasmanian homes and businesses. Mr Turnbull promised in the federal election campaign to honour contracts for Labor’s fibre to the premises model. However, on local radio yesterday he moved away from the commitment, blaming rollout contractor Visionstream. “We’ve always said we will honour the contracts,” Mr Turnbull said. “The problem is Visionstream is not prepared to work for the prices and the rates that they have agreed to. That’s why work has stopped.” Mr Turnbull also said Tasmania was not entitled to preferential treatment just because it was the first state to start the NBN rollout. “My commitment is to ensure that all Australians have access to very fast broadband sooner, cheaper and more affordably,” he said. The comments were slammed by the State Government and the information communications technology sector. Premier Lara Giddings said it was appalling that the Liberals had played such cruel politics over the NBN. “Before the election they were putting their hand on their hearts and declaring they would honour the Tasmanian contracts,” she said.”Ever since the election, they have done everything they can to try and wriggle away from it. To now try and use an argument that the project is too expensive is complete rubbish.” TAS ICT executive officer Dean Winter yesterday called on Mr Turnbull to honour his election commitment “He must stop his inaccurate claim that Visionstream is not doing any work in Tasmania,” Mr Winter said. “It is simply untrue and he is either poorly advised or being deliberately misleading.”Visionstream has ramped up its activity and has been laying fibre in Clarence, West Hobart and East Launceston over the past few weeks.” Mr Winter said issues with the NBN rollout were known before the September election. “But there was never any indication from the Coalition those issues would affect the promise to honour existing contracts.” Opposition leader Will Hodgman said the state Liberals wanted fibre to the premises and would discuss the issue with Mr Turnbull.
So it was pretty much expected that this would happen. From the get go the meaning of the “Promise” was being watered down… Enjoy ADSL as for most that’s all they will ever have access to… 😐