Thursday, 29 August 2019 02:56

Labor’s Rowland raises concerns about Australia’s lowly ranking on broadband affordability Featured

Michelle Rowland, Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland, Shadow Minister for Communications

The Australian Labor Party’s Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland has expressed concern that Australia has ranked last out of 36 OECD countries on entry level fixed-broadband affordability.

Referring to concerns about a Point Topic data second quarter 2019 report compiled by the Parliamentary Library, Rowland said this concerning development follows “scathing assessments” by Infrastructure Australia and the ACCC Chairman about the multi-technology mix and its entry level pricing.

Rowland says that in August an Infrastructure Australia audit observed that “the technology mix for the NBN has diversified, meaning different users will receive different types of connections. This change will deliver varied outcomes for users, and some may shoulder higher costs or receive lower-quality services.”

She also cites a speech in May by the ACCC chairman that “Under the new pricing, the cost of accessing the NBN to supply a 12 megabit service has increased substantially and is now, amazingly, close to the cost to supply a 50 megabit service, with this gap likely to narrow further."

The irony of these failures is it has left NBNCo feeling it has no choice but to desperately scour the country for large enterprises to connect with fibre, in order to mitigate the structural damage to its cash flow caused by the reliance on ageing copper and HFC,” Rowland says.

“An example of this is the $200 million NBNCo expects to incur on NBN maintenance capital in FY22. This amounts to nearly $8.30 per month for every active HFC user.”

Rowland says that given the concerns of the ACCC, consumer groups, and this recent Point Topic data, “ensuring entry-level broadband prices are affordable should be a priority”.

“It’s time the Government stopped playing the role of a disingenuous bystander that is conveniently uninterested in the problems they have created, and instead demonstrated some leadership in addressing these challenges,” Rowland concluded.

The broadband rankings can be found here.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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