Conroy says Coalition should “come clean” on broadband policy

Communications minister says he is waiting for the release of the Coalition's fully costed broadband policy so that there can be a debate.

Communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy has called on the Coalition government to unveil its fully costed broadband policy during a doorstop interview today.

Opposition leader Tony Abbot said at the National Press Club conference in Canberra last month that the Coalition’s fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) policy “will deliver superfast broadband for a fraction of the price and in a fraction of the time required to deliver fibre to the front door”.

In response to shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull’s FTTN broadband plan that the Coalition has adopted, Conroy showed his scepticism about whether the opposition is willing to be transparent and open in revealing the cost of its policy.

“We keep hearing it’s going to be released but this is a big infrastructure project and they should do the decent thing and if they have a fully costed policy as they keep boasting then they should release it,” Conroy said.

“The cost of the fibre-to-the-node policy is relatively well known and it’s not hard to cost how many cabinets you need, how close those cabinets will be to individual homes. They are not a matter of needing the ‘NBN’s books open’ to answer those questions.

“[The Coalition] should come clean and release the broadband policy. I keep reading every week or two that they are going to release their broadband policy. We’ll, release it and let’s have a debate about it,” he said.

Conroy also cited Turnbull's speech in August 2011 to the National Press Club, saying that the Coalition doesn't intend to invest much in rolling out FTTN technology to the HFC footprint.

“There’s a lot of questions that Malcolm Turnbull just won’t answer," said Conroy. "A very simple one he said at the press club and you can see in the transcript, [is] that he wouldn’t build fibre-to-the-node in the HFC footprint. Is that still their policy? Because what they have got at the moment is a copper to the home policy. They are going to keep the copper in the ground and keep using copper.”

Last month Independent MP Rob Oakeshott warned the Coalition to consider the cost of maintaining the existing copper network or risk coming up with “false figures” when carrying out a cost-benefit analysis.

He also believes based on his own “rough figures” that the Coalition’s version of the NBN would only come out $5 billion cheaper than Labor’s $37.4 billion NBN.

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Tags Malcolm Turnbullnational broadband networkSenator Stephen Conroybroadband

7 Comments

Scott

1

Why should any government or opposition have a policy on broadband. Should not that be unto the private sector?

Shane

2

It isn't worth it to the private sector to invest heavily in FTTH in Australia. Cheaper and simpler to go wireless.

Jesse

3

The private sector was given the opportunity to spark competition during the Howard era with their HFC rollouts. That failed.

There simply isn't enough wireless spectrum accommodate the sheer density of people living in metro areas with high bandwidth demands.

Please, check your facts.

Fourbypete

4

The problem is that wireless 3G/4G won't cope with multicast tv/data and phone conversations simultaneously. Also, copper doesn't have the reliable upload speeds of fibre.
P.S. Why can't I post comments using firefox?

gnome

5

It seems the Coalition's 'comprehensive' comms network policy simply consists of the old one-two:

1) The NBN is evil and must be banished; and

2) We'll do 'it' cheaper and faster!

Just don't ask them what 'it' entails; you'll get a lot of words which add up to virtually nothing at all.

joshy.87

6

Virtually no private business would invest the amount of money required to get our NATIONAL infrastructure up to date and get us on a level footing with some of our Asian neighbors. The NBN will get us there and have us sitting at the top of the table. The NOalition will send us back 10-20 years.... Why should we be aiming to keep the status-quo when the country we all call home CAN afford this vital piece of infrastructure? Remember it gets paid off over 20 years, not in the next election cycle....

Pedro

7

When is Senator Conroy going to release the full NBN costings and Cost/Benefit ? He seems very reluctant to reveal any details of the real progress and costs to date - so he must have a lot to hide from the Taxpayers. If it was all good news he would have released it. The premises passed measure is a joke - it is premises connected that matters. The NBN may be a good idea but at current progress it will take 20+ years to complete and mostly likely will be overwhelmed by newer more flexible technology.

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