North Coast NBN rollout: ‘Second rate and a total disaster’

FEDERAL member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, has weighed in during a heated parliamentary debate on the rollout of the National Broadband Network, describing it as "second rate" and a "total disaster".

"I think this is one of the issues constituents speak to me about the most - this government's failure to provide for my electorate on the north coast of New South Wales," she said during the debate yesterday afternoon.

"Constituents tell me that they are constantly frustrated that they cannot get any decent internet access.

"There are very slow speeds and lots of buffering ... it is a horrendous situation that they are not able to access the NBN in this day and age."

What is the internet connection like at your place?

This poll ended on 05 May 2016.

Current Results

It's fast and reliable.


A bit patchy, but I can get by with what I've got.


Terrible. It's really slow and keeps dropping out.


I don't care - I don't use the internet at home.


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Ms Elliot said residents were also annoyed because "all they have to look forward to" was the promise of "a second-rate NBN through copper".

"Thousands in my electorate are missing out, and that impacts so many people - small business people trying to run their business, students, families and all those educational institutions. They are all suffering because we do not have high-speed internet access," she said.

"It is going to take a Labor government to fix this mess that the Liberal-National Party has created with the NBN rollout."

In response, Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey said he was "very doubtful" that a Labor government could "sort out" the NBN.

He said the rollout was "well on its way".

"I am a bit of a student of history, particularly on this subject. It is worth remembering that then opposition leader Kevin Rudd went to the 2007 election offering to build an NBN network across Australia for a total sum of $10 billion ... Kevin Rudd was going to build the network in 2008, and here we are eight years later," Mr Ramsey said.

"At the time I thought it extremely unlikely that that system could be rolled out for that type of money.

"It seemed to me that $10 billion was not going to go all that far.

"There were a few high-profile announcements around Australia when selected little communities were hooked up to fibre to the premises. The government rattled on about what a wonderful job they were doing. But by the time the coalition came to office ... the rollout was at a standstill."

Mr Ramsey said that when Malcolm Turnbull "took over" the NBN, he the new board redesigned it using multiple technologies, "which is when we came to the position of using fibre to the node, fibre to the premises, fixed wireless, satellites and a whole concoction of different methods using the existing cables that were operating in cities at the time".

Time for the debate expired mid-way through Mr Ramsey's speech.

In ending the debate, McMillan MP Russell Broadbent said: "To have robust debate is one thing. I think a slanging match does nothing for the edification or good graces of the parliament. Members might like to think about their contributions as far as substance and the personal go."

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