Media Release - Newcastle Businesses Crippled by Turnbull's Second Rate NBN

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1 June 2016

Shadow Minister for Regional Communications, Stephen Jones and Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon, today visited a local business in Newcastle that has been severely impacted by the disruptive, chaotic rollout of Malcolm Turnbull’s National Broadband Network (NBN).

Mr Jones and Ms Claydon met with owners of Opposite Lock Newcastle, a local small business whose phone and internet services were cut for more than three weeks due to construction work being undertaken on the NBN.

The service disconnection had a major impact on Opposite Lock’s revenue and business reputation.

Speaking today in Newcastle, Mr Jones said that Opposite Lock’s case was unfortunately one of many in the areas where the second-rate fibre-to-the-node NBN was being rolled out.

“Malcolm Turnbull and the new Communications Minister keep trying to hide the truth about their mismanagement of the NBN rollout, but the real-life examples like we have seen here today tell the true story,” Mr Jones said.

“The Minister was in the Newcastle region yesterday singing the praises of Malcolm Turnbull’s NBN. But the reality is that the NBN is rolling out slower, costing more and is a chaotic mess in places like Newcastle.

“Australian businesses need reliable, fast broadband to compete in the global digital economy, but Malcolm Turnbull is shackling Australia to an NBN that relies on last century’s copper,” Mr Jones said.

Ms Claydon said that Opposite Lock’s was just one of many cases that had been brought to her attention since the NBN started rolling out in Newcastle earlier this year.

“My office has effectively been an NBN complaints hotline since Malcolm Turnbull’s mess unraveled in Newcastle,” Ms Claydon said.

“There are many examples of businesses and residents who have lost their phone and internet service for weeks, sometimes months.

“Residents in Newcastle suburbs were in the top two Australia-wide for complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in the first quarter of this year, with slow data speeds, unusable internet services and connection problems the big issues,” Ms Claydon said.

Many local residents and businesses have been left completely behind – either waiting for the NBN to come to their neighbourhood, or having their existing ADSL service cut off without warning or reason.

The disruption comes with a financial cost, but there is also a major social impact for residents without a phone or internet connection, as well as long-term reputational impacts for businesses.

“It isn’t good enough — households and businesses in Newcastle deserve much better and Malcolm Turnbull’s NBN is a complete failure,” Ms Claydon said.

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Authorised by Sharon Claydon MP, 427 Hunter Street Newcastle