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Turnbull’s Facebook Q&A backfires

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Internet users furious with the coalition’s NBN policy have hijacked Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s attempt to host a Facebook Q&A session.

In the US on a study trip to meet with technology firms, Mr Turnbull hosted the session on Wednesday morning Australian time on his official Facebook page from the online social network giant’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

Within minutes the Q&A was swamped by people demanding answers from Mr Turnbull in relation to the national broadband network, which were, by and large, the comments most highly “Liked” by other Facebook users.

The coalition not only scrapped Labor’s plan to roll out a fibre-to-the-home network across the country, but late last year revealed it would break its election promise of delivering 25 megabits per second (Mbps) broadband to all Australians by 2016.

Instead, the coalition will favour the slower but less expensive fibre-to-the-node model, which relies on ageing copper wires instead of fibre optic cables.

The Q&A session lasted just 15 minutes.

“Why are you so near-sighted on the NBN scheme? Does this stem from your generational lack of understanding/inability to use IT to the capacity of everybody else?” was the most “Liked” comment, to which Mr Turnbull replied “ha! a low blow!”

The top comment in the post Mr Turnbull created to announce the 15-minute session was over read: “Fizzer of a stunt Malcolm, very disappointed in your handling of and plans for the NBN.”

About half of Mr Turnbull’s answers – however brief – were in relation to the NBN.