Malcolm Turnbull: If You Want Good Broadband, Just Move

Luke Hopewell at Gizmodo:

Malcolm Turnbull is meant to be the man. He’s the minister ultimately responsible for the National Broadband Network. So why did he jump on Twitter and bash someone for not being fortuitous enough to live in an area with decent broadband? It’s smug, and wrong.

Here’s are the tweets that lead to the exchange…

…followed up by this classic aggressive manoeuvre (which wasn’t true, she did answer the question)…

…and finally ended in a worn-out political slogan.

This made me super angry, because as I said on Twitter yesterday night, it’s almost impossible to know the true state of your broadband connection until you’re already locked into a lease or own the property.

The myBroadband website is inaccurate at best and completely misleading at worst. Real estate agents (& agency websites) have no idea. You can’t really check with any certainty about ADSL until you’ve got a phone line hooked up (which requires you to be the lease holder, and to spend a bunch of money).

I can’t think of any other way to know for sure unless you go door-knocking and ask neighbours. Even then, that’s no guarantee that your home or apartment will be the same as theirs.

A few examples

I’m fortunate to currently rent in a place that has serviceable ADSL2 on Brisbane’s southside, but the internet dies every time there’s rain. I had no idea. How could I possibly know this before I sign up to a lease?

This is why I live here: I saw a nice apartment in a decent location, with a queue of people inspecting & submitting applications, and I went “shit, let’s get the application in, and we’ll figure that bit out later.” If I spent even a day trying to figure out what kind of broadband options, speed and quality were available, I would have missed out. That’s how renting works in a city of any decent population. You snooze, you lose.

Another data point: Marc Edwards of app development studio Bjango had to spend $3000 to have a line installed to his place, after being quoted over $6000 by Telstra, and it took over 4 months to complete. Do you think this is something that came up during the process of buying the property?

One of our own writers Ben Johnston is a homeowner, and has had to rig up a few large aerials and a repeater station and share connections with a neighbour, because his estate developer split all their phone lines to save money. Again, how would you possibly know that until you’ve already bought the house?

Yet another: our illustrious podcast host Peter Wells lived in an apartment for 6 months without internet. I remember he had to record podcasts at work, because he couldn’t do it at home. Why would a technologically-inclined person possibly choose to do this? Why would anyone choose this?

The reality is, we don’t. We can’t. It’s crazy.

For the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull, to suggest that the fault is with this person is incredibly out of touch with the realities of housing and broadband in Australia. This is the kind of problem a national broadband network is supposed to eliminate, and instead we’re reduced being belittled by our pollies for our living choices.

Reckoner had its humble beginnings way back in June of 2013.

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