Union calls government's promise to expand NBN "a joke".

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Union calls government's promise to expand NBN "a joke".

The union representing workers responsible for the NBN has slammed the federal government's promise to expand the fixed wireless network and provide more regional customers with 100Mbps-plus speeds as “a joke.”

The Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) said in a statement that NBN Co’s upgrade to bring more customers on fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) to full fibre, was “another election promise that will go unmet.” 

NBN Co said it had already started to send invitations to “more than 50,000” FTTN premises, which will rise to 230,000 by mid-year and 600,000 by the end of the year.

NBN Co said in a statement that “by the end of 2023, up to 8 million premises in total will be eligible to access NBN Home Ultrafast, offering wholesale download speeds of 500 Mbps to close to 1 Gbps.”

The publicly-owned corporation published a list of eleven retail service providers participating in the upgrade program, including providers such as AGL Communications, Aussie Broadband, Telstra, Uniti and Superloop. 

Communications minister Paul Fletcher said in his own statement that the investment “will give homes and businesses the choice to upgrade their NBN connection to speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second.” 

“Blazing fast broadband speeds like this will boost productivity for businesses and provide access to new markets.”

“Meanwhile, families will be able to enjoy the use of multiple devices, including when working and learning from home.”

CEPU national president Shane Murphy said “throwing cash at the NBN network won’t fix the system,” and that the government needed to launch a “parliamentary inquiry” to look at the NBN, and address “outrageous employment issues”.

“There is a huge leak in the bucket – and that’s coming executive bonuses and from the middle-man companies in the pyramid contracting system who are ripping off workers and profiting off our taxpayer dollars.”

“If this Government actually wanted to fix the NBN – they would’ve listened to the pleas of thousands of workers who went on nationwide strikes last year against underpayments, shonky sham contracting and a network held together with plastic bags.”

“You have senior employees on top salaries and multi-million dollar bonuses while workers are squeezed for pay and conditions at the other end and service suffers.”

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