Wed, 29 Sep 2010 - 21:00
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Paul's Blog: Government Fudges on NBN take up numbers in Tasmania

In Question Time today the Hon Anthony Albanese, Minister representing the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, completely fudged the question as to how many customers are paying for National Broadband Network (NBN) services in Tasmania.

I pointed out that that the CEO of iiNET, a firm providing internet access at the NBN trial locations in Tasmania, had stated that “demand from our point of view is zero”.

I asked Minister Albanese exactly how many customers are currently paying for NBN services in Tasmania and how much they are paying on average.

The Minister was not able to immediately answer the question.

In his later supplemental response, the Minister ducked the question.  The Minister stated that 50% of premises were connected to the network.

What the Minister failed to explain is that this simply means the householder has elected to take advantage of a free offer to physically connect the network to the premises.  It does not mean or imply that the householder has actually subscribed to a service. 

What is in fact alarming is that 50% of households have chosen not to  take advantage of a free offer to connect to the network.

The Minister’s answer gives no indication whatsoever of actual numbers who are buying services on Tasmania’s NBN.

In the absence of a response, it can only be assumed that iiNET is correct that demand is zero.

As $43 billion plus of taxpayers dollars is at risk as a rollout commences across the country, Australians have a right to information concerning the commercial viability of this white elephant in waiting.