In the latest blow to Malcolm Turnbull’s second-rate NBN rollout, Labor Senators have forced NBNCo to reveal that only 16 of 1,423 deployed micro-nodes are actually in service.
Across the country, an extraordinary 1,407 micro-nodes – or 98.9 per cent – are out of service.
Micro-nodes are small, fixed-access nodes that deliver the NBN to small numbers of users.
Not a single micro-node for the entire states of Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia as well as the Northern Territory and the ACT is operational.
In Queensland alone, 430 micro-nodes have been deployed to date and not a single unit is providing any service.
This is the NBN that Malcolm Turnbull calls a success story – slower speeds, slower rollout and technology that is out of service while Australians are begging for better internet.
It simply beggars belief that Malcolm Turnbull has 1,400 micro nodes in the field gathering dust. Worse still, this was revealed in the same week where reports indicated NBNCo’s chief engineer has signalled the clock is ticking on the FTTN network.
Evidently the Minister was not happy about this disclosure, because when the NBN Chief Engineer was subsequently asked by a journalist on Monday “so why not just build the NBN once rather than building something that needs to be upgraded in a few years at extra cost” the Minister pounced in front of the camera — declared “I’ll take that” — and then proceeded to give a non-response. There was clearly something he did not want the Australian public to hear.
It’s time for the Minister to answer these critical questions:
- What is causing the ongoing delay in making these micro-nodes operational?
- How much has this debacle cost taxpayers?
- Does NBNCo now intend to abandon the micro-nodes and overbuild them with a different technology?
During a week when the Government was patting itself on the back for reaching the half-way mark of a rollout that was due to be completed by 2016, many Australians continue to suffer in a digital divide of Malcolm Turnbull’s making.