Labor NBN $351m lost in space

Taxpayers have subsidised poorly performing satellite broadband services to the tune of $7300 per user thanks to the former Labor government’s incompetence in managing the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston said Estimates hearings this week continued to unearth stunning examples of Labor’s waste and incompetence while in government.

“The latest example of the NBN Interim Satellite Service (ISS) beggars belief,” Senator Ruston said. “Under Labor’s direction, NBN Co purchased bandwidth on two satellites for $351 million to provide a temporary satellite broadband service for Australians in regional and remote areas who had no other way of accessing broadband.

“Labor said 250,000 households and businesses – many of whom had other means of obtaining broadband – were eligible for the ISS. In fact it has a capacity of 48,000 users, which was reached in December 2013.

“Labor allowed ISPs to ignore a policy which limited monthly downloads to nine gigabytes, with some offering plans with download caps of up to 60 GB/month – over a satellite, no less.

“The result has been very poor internet performance, in some cases worse than the old dial-up speeds, despite users being promised speeds of up to six megabits per second. Thousands of eligible people who have no broadband option other than satellite can’t access it, while others who have access to other forms of broadband have been subsidised a staggering $7300 per user.

“This is like an episode of ‘Lost in Space’ - $351 million of taxpayers’ money wasted by Labor on satellite broadband hardly worthy of the name.

“The ISS was launched in 2011 and was, initially, a component of Labor’s NBN that was working well. It turns out Labor’s waste and incompetence knows no bounds and actually reaches orbit.”

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