Coalition promises cheap broadband by 2016
Thursday, 18th July, 2013
By Kurtis J Eichler
Broken Hill will get fast broadband cheaper and before 2016 if the Coalition wins the federal election, an opposition frontbencher has vowed.
Shadow minister for regional communication, Luke Hartsuyker, visited Broken Hill yesterday after constant lobbying from Member for Farrer, Sussan Ley.
His visit was aimed at seeing how dire the need for fast internet was and meeting with locals to hear their concerns.
Mr Hartsuyker said there was concern that Broken Hill was being overlooked by Labor’s NBN project.
“There is an urgent need for improved broadband services in Broken Hill,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“One of the things we would do if we win government is within 90 days of the election, we’ll direct the Department of Communications to give us the worst broadband services and places that are the most in need of upgrades.
“Given Broken Hill is a large centre and relatively isolated with poor broadband services, it would certainly be considered for urgent attention.”
Labor’s plan to connectevery house to internet via fibre optic cable costs about $40 billion and is expected to last 60 years and deliver speeds in excess of 100Mbps.
The Coalition’s plan is to connect houses to an NBN node via existing copper wire and will deliver an initial 25Mbps and then, in three years, that will double.
Labor’s plan will take a lot longer but the Coalition has vowed to hook every home up to the NBN by 2016.
Ninety-three per cent of Labor’s roll out will be fibre to the home; four per cent will be wireless and three per cent satellite.
The Liberal Party is say 77 per cent of the roll out will be fibre connected to neighbour hubs at the end of streets. Twenty-two per cent will be connected through fibre to the premise.
During a question and answer session yesterday, many in the 20-plus audience said the Coalition’s NBN policy was “second rate”.
“We believe that fibre to the node will more than meet their needs,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
One member of the audience said France was in the process of dumping the fibre to the node system and adopting a fibre roll out.
Mr Hartsuyker said it was very difficult to predict the future of technology.
“When this project was announced the iPhone had just been released and we didn’t have an iPad.
“We can’t tell the future,” he said, but he added that it was imperative that places such as Broken Hill get a good service that can be upgraded in the future.