ABC NSW Statewide - Service Class Zero Premises





SUBJECTS:  Service Class Zero Premises

EMILY LAURENCE: Service class zero, for 98,000 premises in Australia, trying to connect to the National Broadband Network, it’s exactly how it sounds.

They’re complex cases, typically homes and businesses built on vacant blocks with no previous phone connection, in existing suburbs, which can’t get the NBN, even though it’s there.

And there’s more bad news if you’re one of them. The head of NBN has conceded service class zero premises are being bypassed in favour of prioritising easy to service areas. CEO Bill Morrow came under intense questioning from Tasmanian Senator Anne Urquhart at a recent Senate Committee meeting.

[Plays audio of questioning where Urquhart questions the strategy]

Mr Morrow was then asked when a Service Class Zero premises could expect to be connected.

[Audio of Mr Morrow explaining it could be next year, or the year after]

You heard it right: 2020. The Federal Opposition is furious.

STEPHEN JONES: There’s a “rush out” going on here, when it should be a roll-out, and people are expecting that with an infrastructure project that costs $50 billion that every house in Australia should get the same sort of connections.

EMILY LAURENCE: Regional Communications Spokesman, Stephen Jones, said he’s receiving a complaint a week from Service Class Zero properties.

STEPHEN JONES: We think it’s wrong, and what’s going on here is the NBN is desperate to ensure they make Malcolm Turnbull look good, by meeting his artificial roll out targets, and the result of that is they’re rushing past premises and they aren’t stopping to fix the more difficult cases.

EMILY LAURENCE: That claim has been flatly denied by Mr Morrow.

[Plays audio of Mr Morrow denying the Government is involved]

Stephen Jones, again.

STEPHEN JONES: We are saying very clearly to the NBN, and the Government, there needs to be a plan to fix this. We cannot be leaving close to 100,000 premises without a plan to get a connection to the phone and to the internet.

EMILY LAURENCE: The number for Service Class Zero premises is expected to grow as the rollout progresses.