The federal opposition could be open to writing down the value of the national broadband network to help make internet more affordable.
If elected, the Labor Party has vowed to fix the economics of the NBN and give broadband users access to more efficient fibre technology rather than copper cables, The Australian Financial Review reports.
Labor’s communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland said honesty on the broadband’s future was necessary, as the party finalises its policy for the network.
Reducing the value of the NBN would reduce wholesale broadband prices, helping retailers such as Telstra, Optus and TPG Telecom.
New data from the company in charge of the nation’s high-speed internet shows almost 160,000 people were left waiting in vain for a technician in the year from July 2017 to June 2018.
What’s perhaps stranger, NBN Co reported in March the number of missed appointments since July was just 80,000 – meaning it doubled in the final three months of the financial year.
“Australians are reasonable and do not expect perfection – but they expect better than this,” Ms Rowland told AAP on Monday.
NBN Co says it understands the frustration faced by people bearing the brunt of missed appointments and is working with the industry to turn things around.
The 160,000 missed appointments of 2017/18 came as it increased the number of homes and businesses active on the network by 65 per cent in the year.
“As we scale up we will continue to work closely with our internet providers and delivery partners to improve our installation and assurance processes,” a spokeswoman for the company told AAP.
NBN Co also told a Senate committee customer satisfaction with its services dropped over the past two years, from a rating of 7.2 out of 10 in 2016 to 6.5 last year.
“If (Communications Minister) Mitch Fifield had been more focused on NBN consumers and less focused on installing Peter Dutton as prime minister, we would not have this situation,” Ms Rowland said.
“Less downtime, greater accountability and fewer missed appointments – that is what consumers deserve and what Labor wants to achieve.”