Oakeshott calls for full NBN rollout list
A FULL list of when regional communities will get the National Broadband Network must be released to battle the uncertainty about the rollout in rural and remote areas, independent MP Rob Oakeshott said on Friday.
Mr Oakeshott, who chairs the parliamentary committee examining the rollout of the NBN, said more information about the decade-long project should be made public.
Currently, NBN Co only releases details about those towns and cities that will get the NBN delivered in the next years, leaving all other areas in dark about their local rollout.
"The NBN Co has decided to have a public three year forward plan, but for those communities outside of the plan, there's nothing out there to tell them when it will arrive," Mr Oakeshott said.
"In my view, the NBN Co has a decade-long rollout plan, and those communities outside of the next three years should be told when it will come."
Mr Oakeshott also said political divisions within the 16 committee members 68 participating politicians were also dogging real oversight of the rollout.
"I think there is a real risk that we won't even be able to produce the fifth report before the election," he said.
"Both sides of politics continue to use the committee for their own political purposes, rather than actually trying to sort out the problems and get on with the job."
In his foreword to the latest report, Mr Oakeshott wrote the political party election platforms had made the oversight work of the committee "much more difficult than it needed to be".
He wrote he was concerned the committee was being set up to fail by both major parties, and could make the entire process "worthless and a waste of time for all involved".
"If we're going to bother even doing the report, than we should be focussing on producing something that isn't hijacked by the party politics, and actually deliver something for the people before the next election," he said.
Mr Oakeshott also said the current Coalition plans would not actually improve the broadband services, rather, it would see further rollout of a copper network he described as out-dated.
He said that plan would simply double up on the progress made on the NBN, and not deliver higher speed internet services either.
A Coalition dissenting report to the main committee's findings attacked various concerns about the finances behind the NBN, citing a lack of detail from NBN Co.
That report highlighted the big up-front costs of the huge infrastructure project, and voiced Coalition concerns about how the NBN would affect the government's finances.