States rally against NBN fibre plans

Michin calls for coverage maps

The Federal Government faces heated opposition from state and territory governments for cutting out select regional towns from the national fibre broadband network.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and South Australian Premier Mike Rann accused the federal government of double standards after it was revealed small regional towns in Tasmania would received 100Mbps fibre connectivity under the National Broadband Network (NBN), while equivalent centres in other states will miss out.

Under the NBN plans, towns with fewer than 1000 people will receive 12Mpbs wireless broadband to reduce the cost of rolling out vast lengths of fibre to serve small populations.

However Prime Minister Kevin Rudd affirmed at a Council of Australian Governments meeting yesterday that exceptions will be made in areas where small towns are located within close proximity, including Tasmania.

Bligh and Rann expressed concern that major regional centres will miss out on equitable broadband access because of their distance from metropolitan CBDs.

Shadow communications minister Nick Minchin said the government should reveal its coverage maps to allay the premiers' concerns.

“The mainland premiers have every right to expect that all Australians will be treated equally,” Minchin said.

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