Parliamentary panel slams NBN rollout, suggests changes

Joint standing committee urges NBN to lift its game with technology delivery.

Report slams NBN rollout

A joint parliamentary standing committee has issued a damning report on the current processes employed by the NBN and urged the use of more fibre in premises that are not connected to the network.

The 210-page report, released by the Government on the Friday before the AFL and NRL Grand Finals and before most of the country celebrated a long weekend, also criticised the way complaints were dealt with by the NBN Co.

The report suggested NBN Co use fibre-to-the-kerb or fibre-to-the-premises for houses that are yet to be connected to the network, rather than the vastly inferior fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technology, which is causing so many speed problems around the nation.

The committee found that while the NBN is being rolled out ahead of schedule, its speed and data metrics will not meet expectations, and that rural and regional areas are being disadvantaged.

“All the evidence strongly suggests that speed and data requirements of Australian households and business will continue to grow rapidly. [NBN Co’s] ‘user pays’ approach runs the risk of creating a digital divide in which low socio-economic areas with poor NBN are not upgraded because the demand and matching revenue will not meet the NBN upgrade model,” the committee said in the report.

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

The committee also found that the transition to the NBN from previous networks has been “extremely poor” for some people.

“Many problems have been experienced at every stage of the migration process, from installation issues through to speed and performance faults once services are established,” the report said.

“The quality and service issues identified in this report were foreseeable and should have been identified and addressed systematically a lot earlier.

“The failure to ensure end-users are in a position to navigate the NBN migration process, when coupled with the quality and service issues, has caused a lack of confidence in the NBN, which in turn has likely affected the public appetite for higher speed broadband packages.”

The committee recommended users be given more avenues to lodge complaints, and better transparency of the overall process.

“The lack of enforceable rights and protections for consumers is a significant regulatory deficiency that cannot be allowed to continue. Lack of progress in developing new consumer protections is leaving business and residential consumers at risk,” its report said.

Read the full parliamentary report.

Opinion: Tide is turning on Government’s fraudband

If your property is not connected to the NBN yet, all hope is not lost for the possibility of signing up for an affordable and fast internet connection.

This latest report will increase the pressure on the NBN Co to deliver fibre-to-the-kerb (or as the company incorrectly refers to it, fibre-to-the-curb [FTTC]) to the remaining properties that have not been connected to the network.

Last month, a council in NSW negotiated directly with NBN Co to successfully secure superior fibre connections.

Houses in the Bellingen Shire were initially designated to receive FTTN, but after council negotiation will now receive FTTC technology.

If your area is yet to have a node installed, you should immediately contact your local councillors and ask them to push for the superior technology to be installed in your area.

The FTTN problems are horrendous. Many users are reporting speeds as slow as 1Mbps during peak times.

Unfortunately, areas that already have the inferior FTTN technology look like they have missed the boat. I currently find myself in that boat.

At home, I currently have broadband cable, which delivers a solid 30Mbps consistently throughout the day. The NBN has rolled out FTTN technology in my area and for roughly the same price I am currently paying, I am being offered a service that promises maximum speeds of 25Mbps.

As this parliamentary report points out, the complaints mechanism is a complete shemozzle.

At every step of the journey you are told to address your complaints to the internet service provider and are discouraged from contacting the NBN Co directly.

This faceless and impersonal approach only increases frustration levels, particularly for consumers who are being forced away from their existing technology.

Are you connected to the NBN? Are you connected to FTTN, FTTP or FTTC? Are you happy with your internet speeds? Have you had any problems? If you are not yet connected to the NBN, are you worried about being connected to inferior technology?

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    COMMENTS

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    leek
    4th Oct 2017
    10:30am
    Can we stop the NBN, do we have to take it on? I have physically seen the cables in my street, so I know it won't be long. Just not sure if I will be forced to use it.
    Tom Tank
    4th Oct 2017
    10:41am
    Yes this free enterprise government forces you onto the NBN without a choice.
    Rae
    4th Oct 2017
    11:24am
    Yes and if you are a saver it will cost you quite a bit more in charges as well. Best spend everything and you might get a bit of this "fairness" they talk about.
    ozimarco
    4th Oct 2017
    1:58pm
    Generally speaking, you are only forced to use the NBN if you want fixed line internet and/or phone. If you are prepared to rely on your mobile phone and mobile data, then you don't need to connect to the NBN.

    If you are in an NBN Fixed Wireless or Satellite area, your landline will not be cut after 18 months as it will be in FTTH, FTTN, FTTC and HFC areas. However, even in those FW areas, there is no guarantee telcos will maintain ADSL services for much beyond the 18 months. Just as most ISPs no longer provide dial-up internet these days, the lack of customers on ADSL will eventually make the provision of that service uneconomical for telcos.
    ghoti
    4th Oct 2017
    10:48am
    We are seeing precisely what was predicted by experts when Abbott ordered Turnbull to make sure that the NBN be no threat to Murdoch. How can we have an "agile and innovative" economy and society when we're so far behind the 8-ball? Most people will use fast broadband to download movies etc, but science, businesses, research, medical services, the arts, and so on, cannot compete internationally with the mess that Turnbull bequeathed us.
    ozirules
    4th Oct 2017
    10:59am
    I have wireless internet as part of my phone plan and do not have a land line. I get 15 gig of shared data per month plus all calls and texts plus 300 minutes of overseas calls for $40 per month. A one off $5 dongle plugs into my desk top where most of my internet usage is and that's my total outlay. I went wire less after months of internet frustration with a land line and for the last 2 years have had no problems. Maybe my usage of around 10 gig per month is low but I wouldn't go back to old technology hard wires and as I'm wireless I wont have to bother with the nbn.
    Funnily though my daughter is building a new house on a block in an established area with phone lines already in street and she has to pay nbn connection of $600 even though it is not yet rolled out in her street and when it is she wont connect as she wont be installing a land line. It's a government force to make us pay for an inferior service even if we choose never to use it. Good one Malcolm.
    Retired
    4th Oct 2017
    11:39am
    I am living in Glen Waverley in Melbourne . My experience with NBN is very discouraging. A new NBN terminal was installed more than a year ago and so far NBN has failed to put it in service and we were told due to technical difficulties. I am an engineer and I wonder what technical difficulty couldn't be resolved in one year. Also how come NBN allow unit to stay idle without generating revenues for over one year......This is an example of poor efficiency within NBN.....I wonder if any feedaback can be obtained from NBN
    Jim
    4th Oct 2017
    11:48am
    I have heard a lot of complaints about the NBN, so I was a bit concerned when the NBN arrived in our street, I was connected last week, or rather I was sent a new modem and connected everything myself, it took about 20 minutes all up, and was very straight forward, I haven't noticed much difference in the speed but it's more than adequate for what I need, so fingers crossed everything will be OK a bit to early to judge.
    Dave R
    4th Oct 2017
    12:11pm
    FTTN was never a good option and was not included in the original NBN plan. For political reasons the Abbott/Turnbull government switched the rollout to an inferior product and Australia is paying dearly for that.
    Having said that, I was connected to FTTN this year and it all went smoothly. I am consistently getting much faster (47/17) and more reliable (no dropouts) internet than I was using ADSL2+. I am with Telstra.
    However I have friends nearby who are having horrors with their new connection, so I guess it's in the luck of the draw which should not be the case.
    leek
    4th Oct 2017
    12:45pm
    Dave R I am hoping I will be like you. I only moved here early this year and have the ADSL2 as well with Telstra. I already have the gateway box that Telstra use for the NBN. So my connection will be easy.(I think). When I use the landline phone my internet connection drops out. I find I can't be on the landline and look up information on the computer at the same time.
    I am hoping I won't have that problem with the NBN.
    Greg
    4th Oct 2017
    8:28pm
    leek - with your current ADSL2 connection a filter should be used which will stop the internet cutting out.

    With the NBN you won't have issues with internet or phone cutting out - uses a different system to operative.
    Eddy
    4th Oct 2017
    12:13pm
    With my engineer hat on I suggest that the current NBN is doomed to failure. When I try to explain to people about the difference between 'fibre to the node' to 'fibre to the home' I explain that 'fibre to the node' is like building a multilane freeway and terminating it at a one lane each way road. A recipe for disaster. The most frustrating thing for me is that I believe Malcolm Turnbull knows this but persists with 'fibre to the node' to protect vested interests, particularly the subscription TYV industry.
    Eddy
    4th Oct 2017
    12:16pm
    Correction last line, 'subscription TV industry'. Digital (as in finger) error.
    HarrysOpinion
    4th Oct 2017
    12:21pm
    We have NBN in our street BUT, after reading about so many complaints from customers about speed being slower than what they signed up for, I decided not to be part of the stampeding mislead herd. So, why doesn't Australian Consumer Law Authority take legal action against suppliers who mislead customers about the reliability of the speed they signed up for?
    WP
    4th Oct 2017
    1:05pm
    You will be forced to take up the NBN eventually. It is law that the service provider cannot continue current ADSL or cable service if NBN is available ( aboslutely crazy, where is the ACCC in all this )
    Wstaton
    4th Oct 2017
    2:25pm
    Why does it have to be a law. Once non is connected then you have to connect to nbn to use anomaly phone. There is no where for adsl to be connected as there is now no physical landline.
    WP
    4th Oct 2017
    1:03pm
    We currently have ADSL2 and get unlimited data for $60 per month.
    Our speeds are consistenently18-20Mb/s ( luckily we are not far from the exchange )
    We are now going to be forced on NBN FTTN where to get the the equivalent speed it will cost $10 more per month. ( up to 25Mb/s )

    So what has NBN done for us ? Precisely nothing, in fact we are worse off.

    The worst thing is we have no choice, our service provider must discontinue the ADSL services when NBN come in to an area.
    HarrysOpinion
    4th Oct 2017
    8:08pm
    Send a thank you letter to Malcolm Turnbull.
    Greg
    4th Oct 2017
    8:20pm
    $10 more per month?? Do you pay a line rental fee to Telstra currently, remember this fee will be gone with your NBN connection.
    Eddy
    5th Oct 2017
    12:30am
    HS, I believe that Julia Gillard bears responsibility for the compulsion to connect to NBN, not Mr Turnbull. That said I believe the NBN is a significant national project akin to the Snowy Mountain Scheme and is worthy of support. Pity petty politics has rendered it a poor relation to what was originally intended..
    Bazza13
    4th Oct 2017
    1:03pm
    I have had nbn (FTTN) for 6 weeks the process went smoothly with no issues, I selected an Australian owned company (Aussie Broadband) who had a seniors plan for over 60's and month to month billing (no contract).
    For $50/mth I get 12/1 speed 25gb and local/national & mobile calls included.

    Speed is always 11.5 download and .8 to .9 upload , they have a system where once they reach 80% capacity they buy more bandwidth from NBN Co.
    Don't go with the big players, look at the Product Review web site for info about providers just type in Productreview (space) then the name of the company you want to review, it will open your eyes to what the big companies are doing they are often blaming NBN Co for slow speeds when the problem is that they are not buying enough bandwidth to cover the plans they have sold.

    I am concerned about the life of the green boxes in the street as some information I have read indicates they have a relatively short life and will require constant maintenance. Also they seem to install them out in the full sun, how will they cope with the hot Australian summers.
    Dave R
    4th Oct 2017
    1:17pm
    You are not on an NBN plan as the slowest NBN plan is 25/5.
    You have been conned.
    I get 47/17 speed 1,000Gb download (use about 300GB) monthly plus unlimited free calls to any phone in Australia and various other benefits for $125 a month.
    Way better than what you have and with Telstra.
    You speeds and download limit is a joke.
    Dave R.
    WP
    4th Oct 2017
    1:25pm
    Slowest NBN offered by my ISP is 12Mb/s
    ozimarco
    4th Oct 2017
    1:47pm
    You made a good choice, Bazza. Aussie Broadband is one of a very few companies that will do everything under their control to make sure customers get the speeds they are paying for. They monitor congestion levels on a daily basis and upgrade CVC as necessary. Also, if a certain POI reaches 80% of capacity, they will not accept additional customers for that POI until NBN have added capacity. Now, show me another RSP with a similar policy. Most of them will keep adding customers regardless.

    Aussie Broadband one of the most ethical RSPs I am aware of. They are not the cheapest but you get what you pay for.
    tj
    4th Oct 2017
    2:44pm
    Bazza I get swapped over this monday coming to Aussie as well ,went for same deal as you except the free mobile calls for just $45 per month.Also what they told me is that if i go away (which i do regularly in the winter for at least 3 months) i can leave phone line on for $10 per month but disconnect the internet.I don't understand the post by Dave claiming it is a con regarding the 12 mbs speed ,always thought that this is the basic speed nbn starts on .Will certainly be better than the one mbs speed i am getting now .
    Greg
    4th Oct 2017
    8:24pm
    Dave R wrong, some ISP's have 12 just like Aussie Broadband
    Sceptic
    4th Oct 2017
    1:33pm
    Shouldn't that be FTTK - Fibre to the Kerb.
    WP
    4th Oct 2017
    1:35pm
    That is getting seriously close to something the whole NBN should be called
    Greg
    4th Oct 2017
    8:31pm
    FTTC is used as the technology is from the US where they spell it as "curb"
    Supernan
    4th Oct 2017
    1:52pm
    We have been forced to take the NBN or have no landline, pay disconnection fees, etc. We used to have fast wi fi to my mobile, my laptop & our old desk top had good speed on ethernet cabling. Now the phone drops out, the wi fi drops out, the ethernet is super slow, the mobile pretty much has to run on mobile data as it nearly cooks itself trying to run on wi fi. Some progress !
    floss
    4th Oct 2017
    1:58pm
    The NBN speed seems ok.Sorting out our phones was a big problem at that time ,Telstra had no idea as to phones. We are now having a lot more blackouts since privatisation and have to reset all phones etc.
    Wstaton
    4th Oct 2017
    2:01pm
    Geez, this is just like the renewable energy coal the Adani mine, the gas and the Murray basin stuff ups. This government pushing things that should not be pushed. One wonders who is making out of this in the background.
    floss
    4th Oct 2017
    2:07pm
    Eddy as a Tech in my past you are correct in what you say .The old cables were shot to bits some forty years ago, very third world.
    Wstaton
    4th Oct 2017
    2:17pm
    This is not for all but my lady has been using mobile internet for three years. She gets 8gbs of data, unlimited national voice and SMEs and 200 mins of overseas. She currently uses a 3G phone and finds the speed ok but will be upgrading to a 4g phone soon. It's a 5 inch phone and does everything on it. Facebook, email, messaging and browsing. She has also got a laptop she uses and just enables hotspot on her phone and away she goes.

    She got rid of her landline and adsl connection that she was paying almost $100 month on top of her mobile. Now she's pays $35 all up. No way she will go NBN.

    She is 70 next year and has no problem handling this technology.

    This is the way to go if you do not need masses of Internet data. Who needs Nbn unless you want to download video, movies and music. She sometimes does this but has never gone over her data limit. (Except when the grandkids came avisiiting). She soon put a stop to that.
    Jakala
    4th Oct 2017
    3:04pm
    I initially tried to get a Telstra Cable connect when I moved in 5 years ago but despite being assured it was available by Telstra provisioning the techies wouldn't install (rear unit meant too much work). So persevered with a rubbish ADSL from Telstra and others (Dodo, Internode), our area (Aspendale) is slated to get refurbished HFC (the TV cable previously referred to). However, a chance conversation in the Aspendale Gardens shopping centre alerted me to an NBN rival https://unitiwireless.com/nbn-rival-rolls-aspendale-gardens/ I went online checked I had a signal ordered the service and it was installed and working in 2 days later. Some might think is an ugly looking arrangement http://webwords.net.au/wireless_home.jpg but I am very happy with the service and the speed (50 mbps down, 10 mbps up) which means we can watch movies without buffering. I won't be going to NBN!

    4th Oct 2017
    3:17pm
    If the retarded Coalition hadn't been the penny-pinching beancounter idiots they truly are, then we'd have fibre optics all the way. The NBN is only as fast as its slowest link - the copper bit.
    Wstaton
    5th Oct 2017
    12:24am
    This was a political stunt be the Libs saying their way was the best and cheaper. We are now suffering the consequences and the added costs. Of political trickery. They are still trying it on.
    Dave R
    4th Oct 2017
    4:58pm
    The minimum speed guaranteed by the government for the NBN is 25/5. Your supplier is legally required to deliver that although they find ways around it.
    The 12/1 which some offer is meant for people who only want the NBN for phone services, not internet use. But some providers are marketing it as a cheap NBN plan to non tech savvy customers. Then the complaints about slow speed start when they are in fact getting what they paid for.
    Wstaton
    5th Oct 2017
    12:28am
    Not sure if this is correct. The bandwidth for a telephone only needs about 3 Kbps so why would it need 12/1mb
    Hilily
    4th Oct 2017
    5:13pm
    I always thought that the word for edge of the footpath was KERB not curb which means force to stop. Ah! well maybe it is just another occasion where the education I had in the 40s and early fifties was much better than the stuff they are taught today.
    FTTC, indeed!
    Greg
    4th Oct 2017
    8:35pm
    US technology and as such the terminology is from there where they spell it as "curb"
    Tib
    4th Oct 2017
    6:01pm
    Another Liberal mess. Sure copper is fine just pay Telstra. Whatever Mal !
    Nika
    4th Oct 2017
    6:17pm
    We are paying for ADSL2 and currently get 1.5 mbps, I can make dinner while waiting for a page to open. ADSL will soon be turned off, we then are told we can hook up to NBN Wireless. Just found out the tower is too far away so soon we will have nothing. Thanks for nothing Abbott.
    vincent
    4th Oct 2017
    6:25pm
    The dinosaurs did it again and Australia suffers but it all started with Johnny who privatized Telstra. Privatizing fine but you do not sell your infrastructure as well. The correct way would have been to sell the retailarm keep the infrastructure and let everyone compete on the same network and then build a new network to suit the new conditions. Now every dick and harry is trying to build their own how stupid and a waste of resources. Europe 35 euro simcard with unlimited downloads. Internet speed in 2010 100mp/s if you want to choose that speed and unlimited downloads. We are conned.
    Wstaton
    5th Oct 2017
    12:35am
    Yep sounds familiar like our eltricity infrastructure.
    Bazza13
    4th Oct 2017
    7:49pm
    With regard to Dave R ,s comments about my post.
    There are many reasons people pick one isp over another.
    In my case I was with an isp (No-contract ) who unfortunately did not do NBN plans so I started to look around and found that the big players wanted me to sign up for the unlimited plans on 1 to 2 year contracts if I wanted to include calls to mobiles on my land line. They also had connection fees, exit fee,s etc. I found most of them offered a 12/1 plan. I looked on Product Review and was dismayed at what i found. My local computer shop recommended Aussie saying they weren't the cheapest but were Aust based and reliable.

    As a pensioner the plan I chose suited our needs it was 4 times faster than my adsl it had no contract therefore no exit fees no connection fees it was Aust based (no overseas help desk) and had a policy of ensuring that speeds were constant.
    In the previous 8 years I had not used more than 20gb/mth so 25gb was more than enough, they doubled my data for the first 6 mths to 50gb.
    The speed I get is constant with no drop outs i can stream HD video if i want to and the voip phone works fine ( we had voip for 8yrs on the adsl connection).

    With regards to speed people need to be aware that if you are more than a certain distance from the green box in the street (400 -500 mtres) you will not get the fast speeds that some isp,s are offering and are therefore wasting your money. There are many comments on line about this issue. As others have commented we should have stuck with the original FTTP plan.
    Wstaton
    5th Oct 2017
    12:32am
    That was the same problem with adsl the further you are away from the exchange the lower the speed. Methinks that was why Labor wanted fibre to the house where this doesn't happen
    Blondie
    5th Oct 2017
    1:32am
    Ozirules: you hit the nail on the head! Turnbull and his LNP mates, had to have an NBN that would gouge more money from the public! Fibre to the home? Oh, no! So....we now have Fraudband.....slower internet tha Bulgaria!
    PlanB
    5th Oct 2017
    7:57am
    I have written/emailed and rung the commissioner for communications and have had NO reply -- and the last time I rang they kept telling me to CONTACT MY SUPPLIER -- of which at this time I still have not had the NBN on as I am dreading it due to the trouble it has caused to many around here, I have also rung the Opposition for Communications and have NOT had a reply from her either --
    This is NOT good enough as it is taking us back 100 years -- at least with what we have now if there is a power out we can still use the old Telstra phone -- with NBN we will have NO PHONE AND NO INTERNET -- and how long with a mobile stay charged waiting for hours to speak to a person in Telstra -- I was on the phone to them the other day for 2 1/2 hours
    I suggest we ALL contact MR BROADBAND and DEMAND that it is fixed!
    Florgan
    5th Oct 2017
    8:03am
    The government and NBN knew this was a huge dud before they started rolling it out.
    Idiot "save face " club
    PlanB
    5th Oct 2017
    8:34am
    Well we should all stand up and REFUSE this inferior roll out.

    If we had jobs and behaved in this way -- we would be SACKED
    4b2
    5th Oct 2017
    12:32pm
    So much for Turnbull's better solution to Labor's NBN. Faster, finished quicker, and cheaper. No wonder we have concerns over his energy solution, and anything alse he says. He is yesterdays man, running nothing but a think tank, no action and no concrete plans for the future.
    GeorgeM
    5th Oct 2017
    11:07pm
    The real issue from this article is - what's the point of this Committee's recommendations unless:
    a. The NBN roll-out is stopped to change it's strategy to at least FTTC, and
    b. NBN and the ISPs are forced to cooperate with each other and actually resolve all reported problems within say 48hrs, or else provide the service free till it is fixed.

    Does this Committee gave any teeth? Where is the Govt response to it's recommendations?
    PlanB
    6th Oct 2017
    8:26am
    There is NO Government response -- they do not want to know about it and are passing the buck -- if you have an outage -- maybe for a month OR more they are still charging you too -- this is a disgrace
    ex PS
    6th Oct 2017
    8:55am
    The NBN solution was purely politically motivated and as such was doomed to failure. The decision was made around increasing the chances of election by proving that the governments option was too expensive and was too advanced for what was required.
    This whole system will have to be replaced in order to just bring us up to the level of the countries we compete with, this government should be ashamed, they had an opportunity to have a world class system but deliberately chose to deliver one that was considered old technology before the first cable was even laid.
    The Australian people will now end up paying for their deliberate incompetence.
    If this government was a Board of Directors it would have been sacked over this fiasco.
    We will have to be connected because we don't rely on mobile phones, but I have little doubt that we will be worse off.
    If this government can't get communications right, I wonder how people think they will be able to manage Health, Education, Power or Security.
    PlanB
    6th Oct 2017
    10:27am
    ex PS --- it is a real worry really with no Internet or landline if we have a power outage -- which is VERY likely and last year we had a storm here and had NO power for --6 days -- some were without power for 10 days -- at least with the set up we had we could plug in an old Telstra Phone and still have a Landline.

    A mobile phone is not going to be of much use when it is flat and no power to charge it.
    ex PS
    6th Oct 2017
    8:51pm
    PlanB, the reason that we do not rely on mobile services is that we live in a Black Spot, we can never be sure of receiving mobile phone calls, we rely on the landline and for some reason the SMS that seems to work quite well.
    I don't feel that the government has taken into account the percentage of Australians that will be adversely effected by their penny pinching, last century white elephant of a system.
    WP
    6th Oct 2017
    10:34am
    Labor have said that the egg cannot now be "unscrambled" if they get in.
    So the possibility of going back to their original policy of FTTP for everyone is very remote.

    Go to NZ, they have rolled out FTTP.
    PlanB
    6th Oct 2017
    11:17am
    There are also a few places in Victoria I have heard that have FTTP too
    jonty
    6th Oct 2017
    3:13pm
    Turnbull has created this nightmare.He should have left the original model alone and just streamlined it where possible.
    The Labor model was a 'vision for the future' , Turnbull's constantly changing model is typical business boardroom thinking and consequently absolute Rubbish.
    PlanB
    7th Oct 2017
    8:40am
    Why are not people standing up for themselves -- about this absolute rubbish and cost and for what less than we have now -- I try but I can not do it on my own.
    If everyone wrote /rang/emailed and yelled loud and long they would HAVE to do something


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