The NBN Short Survey was issued with the November survey, with 551 people taking part. Short version: most of you are very angry about the NBN, but it’s not moving votes.
As always, we began by asking what NBN means to you. We got almost no literal answers, and a whole lot of anger:
- First thing… anger! The LNP seriously screwed the people on this project. Unforgivable.
- Liberal Party blew it and their cost cutting has ruined a project vital to Australia’s infrastructure.
- How crap our broadband speeds are compared to most of the rest of the world.
- What a wasted opportunity it was once the LNP was elected and changed the whole concept of the NBN as a national infrastructure project.
- NBN has been badly managed by both major parties. A typical issue where they both fail to accept responsibility for their actions and try pinning everything on their opposition
- Obsolete technology and the horrendous cost.
- It’s rubbish. My partner and I were early adopters, to our detriment. We have spent countless, fruitless hours on the phone with Telstra. As in every other interaction we’ve had with them, it has been an exercise in frustration.
- Delay, disappointment and political strife
You get the idea. The common themes were frustration, disappointment and waste.
Are our respondents NBN users? Mostly, yes.
I didn’t expect the tragic stories in answer to the simple question of ‘do you have the NBN connected at home’, but they were there…
- No, we are an NBN area and we want to connect but the few houses just at our end of the street are too far from the node and so we have no landline/NBN internet. We have to rely on very expensive mobile data. NBN and Telstra have not been able to resolve the situation even after us contacting the ombudsman several times.
- I was supposed to but my rollout was indefinitely delayed because the LNP are incompetent
- Our family home has been replanned a number of times and last month slipped from early 2019 to early 2020.
This question about whether you perceive the internet to be an essential service was borrowed from an Essential Poll last year (thank you Mr Bunn), and got remarkably similar results.We asked specifically whether people supported the change from the original FTTP NBN plan to the current mixed technology approach, and while it is a very strong results of 68% opposing the change, it isn’t as clear as I thought it might be, with some partisanship kicking in. Although, for a coalition policy, that they can only drag 40% of their own voters into the ‘support’ boxes – and just 12% into strongly support – is a sign of a healthy democracy.
There are quite a lot of others here, but most were commenting on other aspects of the NBN or giving a good conspiracy theory on why they were done. Some said it was a non-issue, others commented that the wisdom, or not, or the switch will not be known for years.
Does this issue move votes? Not really. Those who are most likely to be interested are Greens and Labor voters, while Hanson voters, on balance, are slightly more interested than Coalition and Conservatives voters.
The final ‘do you want to say anything else’ text box – which on this survey the majority of respondents availed themselves of – mostly allowed y’all to have another vent at how bad the NBN is, but also gave some clues as to why this issue, about which there is white hot anger, is not really moving votes. Either there’s more pressing issues:
- The mess made of the NBN/Fraudband is nowhere near as bad as the Coalition’s denial of climate change, or the abuse of asylum seekers which both Labor and the Coalition are allowing/causing.
- It’s too late for the NBN to affect voting choices. We’ve gone way past that.
Or it’s someone else’s problem
- I have FTTP – so doesn’t affect me personally – but I would argue it should be a vote changer for some.
- My current apartment building already has a non-NBN fibre connection so it doesn’t affect me much personally, but the NBN is a significant issue for Australia as a whole
- Living rurally, it is essentially irrelevant to me – it will never connect to my home.
- I was always in the Fixed Wireless area (and that is what I have) but family members elsewhere in the city are frustrated and underwhelmed with what they got.
The most significant concern that came out – and one worth thinking about – is about the phone not working if the power is out, and the forced change.
- Angry that if there is a power failure which is likely to happen because I live in a cyclone prone area – that there will be no internet because the modem runs on power and not phone lines.
- My mother is quite elderly and only makes limited use of the internet. She does not have a mobile phone. She relies on her landline for contact with the outside world… Once the NBN goes into her area, she will need to buy a mobile phone, learn how to use it with her arthritic fingers and failing eyesight. She will need to remember to keep it recharged… No one that I know has NBN is happy with it. I dread the day when it comes my way in Feb 2019.
- Range of options are needed. Mum just required a phone (no computer).
- Where we live in the Adelaide Hills it is extraordinarily unreliable which created a problem of communication during bushfires or other disasters.
Thanks to all our respondents, particularly those who gave us detailed stories of their own experiences with the NBN, and a couple of technical people who gave really honest insights (on NBN employee and one former Telstra employee in particular).