Thursday, 30 January 2020 15:35

TelSoc repeats call for bipartisan approach on NBN Featured


Australia’s Telecommunications Association (Telsoc) has repeated its call for a bipartisan response by Australia's politicians to the National Broadband Network and a rescue plan for the NBN, “as Australia’s broadband performance falls even further”.

TelSoc says the release of a new global broadband survey has prompted it to repeat its call for the bipartisan rescue plan for the NBN, and warns that Australia has the fourth lowest result in the latest Ookla report.

“We continue to fall behind comparable countries and this requires urgent action,” says TelSoc.

As reported by iTWire, last week TelSoc told a parliamentary inquiry Australia needs a 10 year plan to improve the country’s broadband and this requires the support of all sides of politics.

A detailed submission developed by the TelSoc NBN Futures Group made the following points.

1. It is vital in the national interest that the federal Government, the Opposition and all relevant stakeholders come together to agree on a bipartisan strategy to ensure that the NBN is technologically relevant and capable of delivering the services required by all Australians.

2. The essential elements in the required plan include a reassessment of the underlying delivery technologies and how they will be used and developed in future to ensure sustainable delivery of services.

3. The Government should arrange for the preparation of a comprehensive ten year development plan. A draft plan should be provided to a wide range of stakeholders for their input. The plan needs to include a review of NBN’s current and future financing requirements and technology upgrade paths.

4. There needs to be greater attention given to how broadband services are provided to small to medium businesses, to ensure that such businesses have affordable access and capacity to engaging effectively with their customers and suppliers.

And among the other issues that TelSoc says it seeks to pursue both with the Committee and more generally are:

1. The relationship between NBN Co and retail service providers, which has been the source of numerous complaints to the TIO and other regulatory bodies.

2. The impact of new technologies, especially 5G mobile services, on NBN’s future business viability a

3. Further research into the benefits of universal broadband, both economically and socially.

TelSoc President, Professor Reg Coutts, says “time’s up” and offered to meet with the Government and Opposition at any time along with a group of TelSoc’s expert members.

“We are less than six months away from the scheduled completion of this critical infrastructure project and it’s not looking good. A third of the fixed-line network is technically incapable of delivering the sort of speeds consumers need now, much less what they will need in future.

“We can’t go on ignoring the fact that we are falling further behind the rest of the World, especially the Asia-Pacific region where our economic future lies.

“Until we accept that something needs to be done, the situation will keep getting worse.”

Coutts says NBN Co needs to immediately move to increase the deployment of Fibre-to-the-Curb.

“FTTC was not available in 2009 when the NBN was launched, nor in 2013 when the Coalition changed the NBN model. FTTC is a sensible middle ground technology. It’s faster than FTTN and can eventually be upgraded to full fibre.”

In its submission to Parliament TelSoc also called on federal and state governments to ensure Autralia has more robust systems with better backup in case of failure, particularly during major emergencies.

“Should the proposed bushfires royal commission proceed TelSoc believes one of its terms of reference should include examining telecommunications needs,” says TelSoc.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a 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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