The Coalition congratulates Senator Conroy and the Labor Government on the remarkable progress being made in the rollout of construction maps for the National Broadband Network (NBN).   
Appearing before a Senate Estimates Committee last night, Senator Conroy last night confirmed his determination to ensure construction maps covering 758,000 premises across Australia are released by the end of 2012.  ”We will meet that goal,” he said repeatedly.
Senator Conroy and NBN Co executives told Estimates fully 6,400 Australian households are now connected to the NBN Co’s fibre network, and 24,000 to all three NBN networks. Around 17,000 are using NBN Co’s interim satellite service (with at least 9000 of these transferred from the Howard Government’s Australian Broadband Guarantee onto an equivalent NBN program over recent months).
Fortunately, for each Australian who can actually use the NBN fibre network, well over a hundred Australians can dream of a digital lifestyle through their inclusion on an NBN fibre rollout construction map.
“Living or working in a premise situated within one of Labor’s NBN construction maps is a privilege for any Australian,” said Malcolm Turnbull, the Coalition’s spokesman on broadband.  ”As long as people don’t mistakenly assume this means they are likely to receive improved broadband any time soon, they should savour what it means to be included on an NBN construction map.”
“It’s fair to say Senator Conroy impressed Senators with his commitment to construction map inclusiveness,” said Coalition Senator Simon Birmingham.  ”In particular I expect Australians in marginal seats can look forward to finding themselves on a construction map soon, if they are not already.”
Australians who learn their home or business is on an NBN Co construction map are assured of many benefits:
  • They will be able to go to the NBN Co website (if their current internet connection is good enough to allow them to open a graphics-rich webpage) and verify that they live in an area covered by a green splotch.
  • They will be able to repeatedly enjoy high-quality television and print media advertising commissioned by NBN Co’s marketing department and paid for by taxpayers.
  • They can look forward to Senator Conroy publicising the name of their town or suburb on every media outlet that will have him on.
  • They will receive the finest personal service – NBN Co currently has 1 employee for every 15 paying customers.
“Labor’s NBN has clearly achieved world’s best practice in the presentation and promotion of rollout construction maps,” said Mr Turnbull.  ”But let’s not overlook NBN Co’s many other marketing achievements.”
Australians  who live in areas covered by a construction map can be confident NBN Co has painted (or soon will paint) a line on a road somewhere in their town or suburb – or, at very least, that NBN Co’s engineers have created a virtual 3D computer design of a line on a road.
Unfortunately, they will not be able to access the internet faster.
Nor will they see the NBN for at least a year (and, judging by the pace of the rollout so far, it will be longer in most cases).
For the millions of Australians who want faster and more reliable broadband at affordable prices, inclusion on a Labor NBN construction map will not be sufficient.  They will have to wait until a change of government.