TRANSCRIPT - ABC News 24 Capital Hill
with Greg Jennett.
1 October 2015
E & OE
Sky Muster Launch, NBN.
Minister, congratulations on the launch. To borrow your phrase,
"Thunderbirds are go", the rocket has launched and what is the
explanation given to you, was it a textbook performance?
Well, everyone associated with the
satellite launch is breathing a sigh of relief. While the risks were low,
because this is a space venture, there are always some risks. So, there is
still a lot of work to do, the satellite has to move into orbit, there is a
fair bit of technical work that needs to occur before Australians in regional
and remote areas can start to receive fast broadband services in the first half
of next year.
Now, let's talk about those services
and the speeds being offered. I think the phrase used is up to 25 Mb per second.
Is that as good as it gets? And how many customers will actually get that and a
Well, it is up to 25 Mb per second
because there no doubt will be a range of product offerings that may be at
different speeds. But, there is the capacity to have 400,000 Australians and
businesses in remote and regional areas, and that also includes Australian
offshore territories, to be connected to the NBN. This is a dramatic and
significant improvement on the broadband speeds which are currently available.
And, importantly, it will mean that there are many Australians who will have
greater choice in terms of where to live and where they want to do their
But, will that theoretical speed, up
to 25 Mb per second, be the way when more customers are connected? You are
saying up to 400,000, is it still possible to get those speeds as the customer
Well, obviously with satellite it has
a finite capacity. So it is important for NBN Co to manage that capacity. And
so there will be differential pricing for people who have high volume needs to
ensure that there is capacity for people who use the NBN in an everyday sense.
And it is particularly important to make sure that we maintain capacity for
public interest uses such as long-distance education, E health. So, it is a
management exercise to make sure that there is fair use and my department and
NBN will be putting a lot of work into ensuring that we have a good fair use
Now, one of the risk management
procedures in this is I suppose making sure that you are not overrun by
technological developments. Has anyone done an assessment of other work being
done by people like Bill Gates, Mike Zuckerberg, Google's Project Loon. It is
all about trying to give global coverage for the internet in remote places. The
possibility that those technologies could overrun a fixed asset like this
satellite that went up today?
Well, technology is always moving and
we can't predict with any great specificity where technology will lead and what
will be the new breakthroughs of the future. But, that is not a reason not to
seek to roll out fast broadband now. As I say, it will be getting out 6 to 8
years earlier, but one of the positives here in relation to the point you
raised is the NBN is technology agnostic. The NBN is open to learning and
advancing and doing things in a different way. But look, I'm sure that there
will always be the need for that satellite capacity that we have.
Now, on the earthly NBN. You are
saying that you are technology agnostic, does that mean that the finished
product may not be very much like the original model outlined by Malcolm
Turnbull which was fibre to the node and copper wires from there to the
premise. Because, there are many suggestions now that the rollout will put a
lot more fibre out to the premises then was initially anticipated?
Well, because the NBN is technology
agnostic, the proportions of the rollout which are achieved through different
technologies may change over time. They may change in response to demand, they
change in response to technological advances. They change in response to what
people are prepared to pay for. So, these are all variables and the NBN will
Alright, Mitch Fifield,
congratulations again on a milestone for the project and we will talk to you
about portfolio matters again in the future I'm sure.
Look forward to it, Greg.
Luisa Anderson | 0417
309 812 | Luisa.firstname.lastname@example.org