Grafton and the NBN

Ed, I refer to Geoff Helisma’s story ‘A tale of two NBNs’ in the Clarence Valley Independent on 19 September 2018. Labor’s NBN policy has always been about investing in a modern, fast and reliable broadband by replacing the ageing copper network with a modern fibre optic one. That’s because when it comes to broadband, technology matters, particularly in growing regional cities like Grafton. The “Fibre to the Node” NBN being rolled out in the areas to the south of the Clarence will never be “super-fast” because it relies on copper to get from the node to the home. At best, it may offer some small improvement on ADSL broadband – but there is no guarantee of that as speed and reliability depends on your distance from the node. Labor’s original fibre NBN would have gone a long way to break the growing “digital divide” between urban and regional Australia. A fully fibre optic broadband would have been a boon for small businesses in regional towns by providing better access to the digital economy and the markets of Australia and the world as well as providing everyone with better access to online government services as well as health and education. With the NBN rollout nearing completion, Labor recognises that in the short term, it will not be viable to re-visit every street and town that has been put onto the second rate copper NBN. Nevertheless, Labor maintains its belief that the future of broadband is fibre and that with the development of the new “FttC” technology that brings fibre right to the front gate; this should be the technology that is deployed to every premises in place of the copper NBN – in streets both north and south of the Clarence. It is disappointing that National Party MPs like Kevin Hogan have sat back and done nothing to advocate for a better NBN for all of Grafton – and for everyone to get the FttC broadband. Stephen Jones Member for Whitlam Shadow Minister for Regional Communications