The NBN – can The Greens fix it? They say yes they can. Early this week the party announced its policy initiative for the National Broadband Network.
When stating its case for action, the party has pointed out Australia’s recent global rankings drop for download speeds – in January the nation slipped to position 60, 5 spots lower than December 2018. The Greens have also criticised the cost and reliability of NBN services.
“The NBN is a piece of vital infrastructure, but the Coalition’s ‘multi-technology mix’ disaster has left many people without affordable or reliable services,” states The Greens’ policy paper. “Under our plan, all Australians will have access to high quality Internet and voice services.”
The party states quality communications are fundamental to the future of the nation’s economy, employment, education, essential services and general way of life.
Among their commitments to getting the NBN ship-shape:
- A “forward-looking” NBN that uses Fiber to the Premises (FTTP), Fiber to the Curb (FTTC), and 5G Fixed Wireless
- Retaining NBN infrastructure as a public asset and ensuring it continues to remain in public hands
- Making high quality telecommunication affordable for all Australians through reviews, regulation and a concession of $60 each quarter to all Health Care Card holders.
- Ensuring the use of best available technologies for Australians in the bush and regional areas, with fixed wireless and fixed line to be the desired connection methods – and satellite the technology of last resort.
This of course won’t come cheap – just the telecommunications concession alone will cost $1.3 billion – and how long that covers wasn’t mentioned.
With Australia currently ranking so low for internet speeds and apparently 57th in world for affordability*, The Greens are saying this is not what Australia signed up for.
“This is not what was promised, nor what Australia needs to ensure that our companies are able to remain globally competitive into the digital future,” said Australian Greens Digital Rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John on Monday. “Our commitment is to keep the NBN infrastructure publicly owned and ensure that the rollout of the NBN is finished using best choice technology, not the multi-technology mongrel that the Coalition will leave us with.”
* Where the affordability ranking figure came from, stated by The Greens, isn’t clear.