First NBN rollout report released

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A parliamentary report on the state of the NBN rollout has been released, putting forward 23 recommendations for the nbn going forward including an independent audit into its financial projections and business case.

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network was established in September 2016, pursuant to the agreement of the House of Representatives and the Senate, to inquire into and report on the rollout of the NBN.

The committee’s establishing resolutions require it to report annually to each House of the Parliament until the National Broadband Network is declared built and fully operational.

The committee received 191 submissions to its inquiry from a range of individuals and organisations and held 15 public hearings and took evidence from every state and territory.

nbn is tasked with rolling out the NBN to provide peak wholesale download data rates (and proportionate upload rates) of at least 25 megabits per second to all premises, and at least 50 megabits per second to 90 per cent of fixed line premises as soon as possible.

The report states, “Evidence provided by nbn through the Senate Estimates process suggests this expectation is not being met, and on current indications there will be 15 per cent of households with fixed line NBN who will only receive 50 megabits per second or less.”

The committee said the Coalition’s multi-technology plan – which wound back Labor’s original fibre-to-the-premise proposal – meant Australians living in poorer or more remote areas could be left behind by a “digital divide”.

“While nbn has outlined the framework they are working from to be able to deliver an upgrade as the market demands it, this ‘user pays’ approach runs the risk of creating a digital divide in which low socioeconomic areas with poor NBN are not upgraded because the demand and matching revenue will not meet the NBN upgrade model,” the report said.

“As it stands, Australia will not be provided with a fast, affordable, ubiquitous, and fair broadband network.”

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