Australia doesn’t want 100Mbps Internet: Turnbull

'Gigantic torching of taxpayers' money'

High-profile Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull has slammed Labor’s National Broadband Network Policy in impassioned comments to a Sydney audience, describing it as “a gigantic torching of taxpayers’ money” and claiming most of Australia doesn’t want 100Mbps fibre internet.

“The reality is, there simply isn’t demand at the household and every small business level for Internet at that speed, at a price which would make it even remotely financially viable,” the former Opposition Leader told a forum he convened in Sydney to discuss Labor’s mandatory Internet filter policy.

“You’ll spend $40 billion plus dollars, and you’ll get an asset that’s worth $10 billion,” he said.

Describing the NBN as “a colossal white elephant”, Turnbull said he was fundamentally a “free enterprise” person, believing the market would provide most services that consumers wanted, and the Government should provide subsidies to aid the market where it could not provide needed services and make a return.

Turnbull said the market for universal 100Mbps fibre Internet was not there – but there was explosive demand for wireless broadband – at which point he held up his Apple iPad device, on which he had been Twittering during the forum proceedings. “This requires a very different sort of architecture,” Turnbull said of wireless broadband.

Turnbull said it was the Opposition’s view that in terms of broadband, government policy should focus on areas – such as in rural Australia – where commercial services were never going to be able to provide broadband at an affordable price.

He mentioned the former Howard Government’s OPEL project as one which had the potential to improve services in this way, noting the Rudd Labor Government had “canned” the OPEL deal with Optus and Elders.

“I think that was a great pity,” he said.

Liberal MP, Paul Fletcher, formerly an Optus executive in charge of regulatory affairs before his ascension to the Par,liament, agreed with Turnbull. He argued the NBN policy was “dreamt up on the back of a beer coaster” by former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, in a plane flight.

“It’s an attractive high-level vision,” he said, but when you “dig into the practicalities, what is proposed has some problems”.

“Yes, it would be wonderful if the surgeons at St Vincent’s just down the road here could supervise brain surgery remotely in Alice Springs,” said Turnbull. “But sitting in your apartment in Bondi, you are not going to want to be supervising brain surgery in Alice Springs, in all probability, and so in a sense, it’s just totally over-engineered.”

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags National Broadband Network (NBN)

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Renai LeMay

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?