Stephen Conroy admits NBN over-ambitious

Conroy NBN story pic

Screenshot by Phillip Harsant

PHILLIP HARSANT

Former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy used his first public speaking appearance on Friday, since stepping-down from the front-bench, to admit the National Broadband Network (NBN) construction targets were “overly ambitious”.

The Labor Senator told the Australian Computer Society (ACS) that the former government did not anticipate the challenges the construction industry would face rolling out the high speed broadband infrastructure.

Conroy said it was fair to criticise the construction model approved under his stewardship.

“That has led to the majority of the publicity of the alleged blowouts,” he said.

He said he believed the perceived sluggish pace of the rollout of the NBN is due to two decisions that he considers the most challenging.

He said the government wanted to make sure the 34 per cent of Australians who lived in multiple-dwelling units had access to the same speeds as everyone else instead of choosing to service them via a “box in the basement”.

Greenfields, or previously undeveloped land, are what Conroy said was the second challenging decision.

“So I think around the construction area, and the model that we pursued… would be the things that, If I could look back in time, I’d want to have more of an understanding of,” he said.

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