Malcolm Turnbull has a history of justifying the
globally noncompetitive speeds by questioning whether people will actually find use for 100 megabits-per-second internet. A BuzzFeed report found out how fast Malcolm Turnbull's NBN connection is. You can already guess where this is going.
Prime Minister Turnbull's Point Piper residence was revealed on Monday to have been hooked up with the top-tier NBN plan, which gives you download speeds of 100Mbps, and upload speeds of 40Mbps. Kirribilli House got the same treatment.
Singapore, for the record, is a leader in internet speeds, with the average user enjoying a download speed of 184Mbps. But it's not just about the advertised download speeds, as the quality of connection cables used is a big factor. Fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP) connections are king, though the government has ditched a national FTTP rollout in favour of cheaper infrastructure options like fibre-to-the-node, copper or hybrid fibre-coaxial cable technology.
Turnbull's skepticism about 100Mbps speeds is long established.
"Do households need to have -- will they value, will they have any use for very high speeds of 100 megabits per second?" he said in an interview with the ABC's "7:30 Report" way back in 2013. When asked about FTTP being dropped in some places he added, "It's difficult to identify the applications that would need that."
In 2010, Turnbull called 100Mbps internet "a gigantic torching of taxpayers' money." In 2013 then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott said a download speed of 25Mbps will be "more than enough" for the average Australian household.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten was quick to jump on Turnbull after news of his Point Piper connection was revealed. "Mr Turnbull says that Australian businesses and families don't need a first-rate NBN, but he's happy to use taxpayer money to look after his own suburb and make sure they do," he said to a Labor caucus.
Shorten slammed Turnbull for getting FTTP connections to his Point Piper home and Kirribilli House, though Communications Minister Mitch Fifield's office denied this was the case. "Contrary to the opposition leader's claim, neither residence is connected with fibre to the premises," a spokesperson to the Communications Minister said in a statement.
Shorten was referencing findings by the Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity, which showed there was a distinct overlap between the affluence of a suburb and the quality of NBN infrastructure it was getting. The poorer the suburb, the report found, the less fibre was likely to be used to connect its NBN.
"By using a multi-technology mix," the communications minister spokesperson said, "the Coalition will deliver the NBN six to eight years sooner and at $30 billion less cost. All homes and businesses will be connected to the NBN by 2020."
Check out BuzzFeed's full report here.
Update, 4:36 p.m. AEST: Adds comment from communications minster spokesperson.
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