Turnbull urged to ‘fix NBN mess'

FEDERAL Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has acknowledged the difficulties faced by Tasmania with the rollout of the National Broadband Network, but has not set a date to visit the state.

Following the release of a report that found the rollout of the network across Australia had been ‘‘rushed, chaotic and inadequate’’, the state’s information technology sector has called on Mr Turnbull to come to the state himself to ‘‘fix the mess’’.

‘‘Labor did not do their homework before embarking on the rollout of the NBN, and as a consequence the roll-out in Tasmania has faced significant difficulties,’’ Mr Turnbull said yesterday. ‘‘The challenges faced by the NBN Co in Tasmania have all been well-documented.’’

Mr Turnbull cited issues relating to asbestos, a dispute between NBN Co’s contractor and its workers, and the complexities in having to rewire high-rise buildings and replace old and damaged infrastructure as some of the challenges faced by Tasmania.

TasICT chief executive Dean Winter said he welcomed Mr Turnbull’s comments, but just wanted the situation fixed.

‘‘We continue to place great faith in the ability of Mr Turnbull to get this project back on track,’’ Mr Winter said.

‘‘But it is completely pointless to continue to focus on the failings of the previous government.’’

Mr Turnbull said the footprint covered by NBN activity in Tasmania, such as construction works, build preparations and areas where the NBN was available, already encompassed more than 40 per cent of the 190,000 premises across the state which were intended to have a fixed line connection.

‘‘It doesn’t matter how you spin it, there is no denying the fact that only around 6000 premises have been passed with fibre since this federal government was elected,’’ Mr Winter said.

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