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We Asked People In Rural Australia How Long It Takes To Download A Video And The Results Weren't Great

Two of the three people we asked couldn't download the clip at all ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

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Large parts of rural Australia have been left with seriously slow internet speeds while they wait (and wait) for the national broadband network (NBN) to be rolled out.

Scott Barbour / Getty Images

Tamworth, a city six hours out of Sydney in the New England electorate, is just one city struggling with slow broadband.

Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, who is the member for New England, was grilled on the ABC's Q&A last Monday about rural internet speeds. People were not happy.


Also on the panel was former New England MP and now opponent, Tony Windsor.

Back when Windsor was last in politics in 2013, he had secured a commitment from Julia Gillard's Labor government to get the NBN rolled out in Tamworth. It never happened because Labor lost government.

On Q&A, Windsor said of the NBN: "Do it right, do it once, and do it with fibre". He got a huge applause.

To determine just how slow the internet in rural New South Wales is, BuzzFeed News asked residents to download this video. It's a 122MB, 15-minute clip of Barnaby Joyce giving an incredibly compelling press conference. It took us 90 seconds to download in Sydney. These are the results:

Geraldine McKay from Mullaley, 120km outside of Tamworth, tried to download the clip, but couldn't.

"I waited four minutes and only the text came up [on the web page]. As the clip is 15 minutes long in reality we would have no hope here."

"We get very excited when we go to Tamworth or Gunnedah and get comparatively fast broadband [compared] to home on the farm or in Mullaley village," she said.

"Fibre optic cable is 80 metres from our house but Telstra has said that they cannot break into it to give us service."


Jack Pallett from Tamworth tried to download the clip – and was able to, after almost 10 minutes.

Warner Bros.

"I did it and it took nine minutes and 53 seconds to download but my internet cut out the two times I tried to download it before."

Last week, BuzzFeed News spoke to Tony Windsor about why he thought the NBN was such a big deal for rural Australians.

Cole Bennetts / Getty Images

"They feel a bit cheated", he said.

"There was promise of a good service coming, and there was a rollout plan ... and then it just got bogged in the politics. The Gillard government died and anything she had anything to do with was something to trash."

On Friday night, prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and opposition leader Bill Shorten are going head to head in a debate that's being broadcast on Facebook Live.


According to the PM, the Facebook Live platform was chosen to allow "millions of Australians to participate".

"They will be able to contribute, it will engage a vastly wider audience than the formats that we’ve used before," he said.

But if rural Australians can't even download a 122MB clip, how are they meant to stream an hour of video?

Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Brad Esposito at

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