Malcolm Turnbull, shadow minister for communications and broadband, has launched a broadband survey to determine where the worst performing areas are in Australia to prioritise where the NBN needs to be rolled out.
“Our plan is to complete the construction of the National Broadband Network but to do so sooner, cheaper and more affordably for consumers,” Turnbull said in a statement.
While the Coalition has not yet formally outlined details of how it plans to develop the NBN if it comes into power in the next federal election in 2013, Turnbull said part of its approach would be to prioritise areas with poorly performing broadband services.
“This information [from the survey] will enable us to ensure that if we are elected to government the roll out of the NBN can be accelerated and targeted at the communities which need upgrades most,” he said.
“Many suburbs and towns are inadequately served by existing fixed line and mobile broadband, but Labor’s NBN is not the answer. It reduces competition, will increase the monthly cost of broadband and is, for many Australian households, many years in the future.”
Turnbull has been a strong opponent to key NBN agreements, such an $800 million agreement between NBN Co and Optus which was approved by the ACCC.
He has also consistently stated a fibre-to-the-node architecture would provide cheaper and faster access to the NBN.
“[The NBN] will not reach some Australians until the 2020s. And it will increase prices: The NBN business plan states that the monthly revenues it earns from each customer will triple between now and 2021,” he said.
However, Turnbull is yet to provide figures on how much sooner or cheaper the Coalition would be able to roll out the NBN, telling ABC Radio's AM program it is unable to produce a costed analysis of its NBN plan as it is unaware of the “extent to which [NBN Co] have made commitments”.
He also said NBN Co "doesn't have a very transparent approach to information", which makes it difficult for the Coalition to carry out a costed analysis of its alternative NBN plan.
Instead, Turnbull has provided rough guidelines on what the Coalition's NBN will look like, such as encouraging competition instead of “stamping it out”, which could involve overturning existing NBN Co agreements with telcos such as Telstra and Optus over their HFC networks.
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