Federation Chamber

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Ms LEY (Farrer) (10:52): I am proud of our government’s extraordinary progress with the NBN. As of this week, NBN broadband is available to one in three premises. That is around four million homes and businesses across the country. As a rural Liberal member in this parliament, I am also very proud that 70 per cent of those premises are in regional and non-metropolitan areas. Across my electorate, I can give you countless examples of where a coalition government is delivering the NBN faster and sooner.

In my two biggest communities, Albury and Griffith, fibre to the node is already available or being rolled out. The build for the smaller town of Corowa is getting underway this week. Fixed wireless service is already available at Deniliquin, and fixed line services will be connected to over 3,000 homes and businesses in Deni by the end of this year. It is a similar story in numerous other towns and communities across Farrer. In the more remote parts of the electorate there is the Sky Muster satellite. For remote areas in the west and far west of New South Wales, this improvement in satellite delivery is extremely welcome.

Everywhere I go, my communities have lots of questions and, quite rightly, high expectations of the NBN. This was certainly not the case under Labor, because when Labor were in office and in charge of the NBN they passed just one in 50 premises. Again, under the coalition, the NBN now passes one in three premises. So it is sooner, cheaper and better.

An opposition member interjecting

Ms LEY: Yes, it is, but there are always ways that we can improve the rollout experience in regional Australia, west of the Great Dividing Range. Technology being what it is, there will always be issues in delivering top-end broadband.

Ironically, one of the biggest barriers curbing the rollout experience is actually communication. Some customers—not all—can experience a delay in being connected. Communication with the home or business owner between the NBN and the retail service provider is often not as good as it should be. If a community is getting fixed wireless or satellite instead of fixed line broadband, that community rightly has an expectation that NBN Co will fully communicate and discuss its planning with the local government authority or council. If a customer is not getting the speed they expected, does it really take that much for the NBN or telco to explain why this might be occurring and try, as any decent service provider should, to fix the problem? These are small issues at a corporate level, but I can assure everyone that, as end users, we are looking forward to the end experience. That communication makes all the difference.