In 2009, the Australian government began what was to become the most ambitious infrastructure project in the nation’s history, the National Broadband Network (NBN). The plan was as significant as it was simple: build a fiber-optic internet network that reached 93% of Australian homes and businesses by 2020, with the rest covered by a fixed-wireless and satellite system. When the initial rollout encountered delays, however, media coverage of the project turned sour.
For months, and then years, the negative stories piled up, threatening the very survival of the project. The underlying reality, however, proved to be far different from the media narrative. A survey revealed that most Australians remained positive about the NBN, despite the deluge of negative coverage. That’s when the NBN’s media relations team got to work on social media to speak directly to consumers about what was really happening with the rollout and to prevent the negative coverage from becoming negative public sentiment.