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Come On, Malcolm: PM Urged To Speed NBN Construction

Come On, Malcolm: PM Urged To Speed NBN Construction

Under the two-year Abbott Government, Australia has actually not only fallen behind other OECD countries in the rankings for Internet-enabled offices and homes, but has lagged behind the – admittedly not very fast – construction schedule of the previous Australian Labor Governments, urged on as they were by then Comms Minister Stephen Conroy.

Laurie Patton, CEO of Internet Australia, a peak body representing Internet suppliers, yesterday called on the new PM to fast-track construction as a matter of urgency.

“Over the past two years” – in which Turnbull has been in charge – “Australia has fallen behind other OECD countries in the rankings for Internet-enabled offices and homes. We cannot allow this to continue,” said Patton.

He also said Internet Australia is concerned that ad hoc legislative changes designed to address specific issues – such as site blocking – are at odds with good policy making “because they risk unintended consequences that can impact on the trust and the efficiency the underpins the Internet.”

“We believe that blocking access to international Web sites will be largely ineffective, being relatively easy to bypass. The costs to the Internet industry – and ultimately passed on to consumers – will be significant, disproportionate and unjustifiable,” he said.

These matters were presumably not high on the new PM’s mind yesterday, as he underwent the swearing in ceremony at Government House and mulled over the likely make over of his ministry.

But they will increasingly become major issues in the months ahead. If significant progress on the NBN rollout has not been made ahead of next year’s election, Labor leader Bill Shorten – or a possible successor – will have much to bang on about.