Labor’s Spokesperson for Regional Services Stephen Jones says consumers in regional communities are being forced to pay extortionate prices for upgrades to NBN services.
When Mr Turnbull made the decision to axe Labor’s fibre optic NBN in 2013, Malcolm Turnbull, then Shadow Minister for Communications, fiercely disputed Labor’s claims that the cost of individual upgrades of technology (now known as “Technology Choice”) would cost around $5,000 and instead Mr Turnbull cited cost figures of around $2,250.
New figures released through Senate Estimates show that the average cost of this technology upgrade is in fact around $15,800 per premises – and the highest cost so far is $157,126.
Not surprisingly, only a small number of customers have opted for the upgrade to a fully fibre optic NBN – overwhelmingly in regional areas.**
This includes places such as NSW: Armidale, Picton, Boambee; VIC: Bacchus Marsh; QLD: Beaconsfield, Bundaberg , Bundaberg North; WA: Dayton, Pinjarra, Meru; SA: North Brighton; TAS: Deloraine.
This is because these areas are on Mr Turnbull’s second rate, copper NBN.
In fact, of the 221 applications for “Technology Choice”, 198 are for those wanting to get off Mr Turnbull’s copper NBN and onto Labor’s fibre optic technology.
Because the NBN rollout is nearly done in 70% of regional areas, there will be 4 million homes that are stuck indefinitely on the copper NBN with no prospect of an upgrade path unless they choose to spend upwards of $15,000 to fund an extension of fibre optic cable to their homes.
Millions of regional Australian homes and businesses will be left stranded on a copper network that is incapable of much more than 25 mbps while the world moves increasingly towards a “gigabit per second” future.