The Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business of Queensland, Leeanne Enoch, has blasted nbn over its decision to not publicly report progress against the three-year rollout plan of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
“It is unacceptable that a national project is not reporting publicly on progress against plan,” Enoch stated in a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network, which is carrying out an inquiry aimed at assessing the progress and effectiveness of the NBN rollout.
nbn's revised website - as of 27 February 2017 - provides individuals and businesses with estimates, within a six-month window, of when the NBN network will be available in specific areas in addition to the type of technology expected to be rolled out.
In addition, online maps provide updates to the anticipated technology which will be used to roll the network out in specific search areas.
Enoch criticised nbn's revised website on the basis that it doesn’t provide a “transparent, holistic roll-out schedule for the state which could be analysed by jurisdictions.”
“The lack of such information inhibits gap analysis, and future digital infrastructure planning and investment decisions,” the submission stated.
The state government also suggested that the decision to forgo the three-year plan directly opposed nbn's statement of expectations, “which requires the release of updated construction plans on a regular basis”.
Enoch's criticism is particularly poignant in light of the extensive NBN rollout update documents that were released in late March by the Department of Communications in response to a Freedom of Information request.
Together, the documents painted a detailed picture of the pace at which the network is expected to be rolled out, and highlighted a move by nbn to connect more than 4000 premises in urban areas to the network via the Sky Muster satellite system.
Enoch's submission also flagged the need to ensure the affordability of the NBN for consumers.
In the enquiry, Enoch said that Retail Service Providers (RSP) have been critical of the NBN backhaul connection charge, with some claiming that it has forced an increase in retail pricing of around $15 per month.
In response, the QLD Government suggests that a forward NBN construction plan is required to facilitate incumbent RSPs to progress required upgrades and maintenance.
“Ensuring reliable access is paramount, particularly in rural areas,” the submission stated.
“A forward plan would also enable complementary parties to plan for services that might increase the uptake or use of the NBN”.
The submission, dated 27 March, comes as the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Andrew Barr, suggests that, in its current form, the NBN will not meet the future needs of the territory.
In his own submission to the inquiry, Barr claimed the network’s rollout is not only slow and poorly targeted, but also attacked the government’s multi-technology mix (MTM) approach.
“The experience in the ACT shows that the current NBN rollout schedule is not best suited to meet the needs of our community,” Barr stated in his submission to the inquiry, dated 28 March.