Government touts NBN progress

Opposition says the NBN remains a "reckless adventure"

The Federal government is using the first-year anniversary of the NBN announcement to tout the progress of the $43 billion mega-project.

Minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy, Stephen Conroy, claimed that the commencement of the NBN rollout in Tasmania late last year, the launch of the $250 million NBN Regional Backbone Blackspots Program in December, the March launch of Mainland Australia NBN trial sites, and several NBN Co industry consultations were proof that significant progress had been made on the NBN.

"The NBN initiative delivers on and exceeds the Rudd Government's broadband election commitment,” Conroy said in the statement.

The Rudd Government first announced that the NBN Co would be established to build and operate a new, wholesale-only, open access, high-speed broadband network on 7 April 2009.

Despite Labor’s celebrations, the NBN has been the subject of ongoing criticism from the Opposition, with shadow communications minister, Tony Smith, recently calling the project a “reckless adventure”.

“None of the Conroy babble can hide the fact that after two and a half years, Labor’s only broadband outcome has been to prevent 900,000 under-served households from receiving better and more affordable broadband through the cancellation of the previous Coalition Government’s OPEL contract,” Smith wrote on his official website.

Smith wrote that the Coalition believed there were better ways to drive a comprehensive upgrade of Australia’s broadband infrastructure both nationally and in under-served areas, although he didn’t provide further details.

“The Coalition will be looking to implement a very different, responsible and targeted approach that will be designed to deliver better, affordable, reliable broadband services where they are needed without a reckless waste of taxpayer’s funds, as well as encouraging the private sector to upgrade broadband infrastructure,” Smith wrote.

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