South Australian Labor has pledged to deliver fibre-based broadband services in Adelaide if it wins the state election next month.
Labor announced today it will spend $35 million on expanding the state government’s fibre network. The expanded network — ‘the Fishbone’ — will offer broadband services across metropolitan Adelaide.
Under the plan broadband services using the network will be available to businesses and households through ISPs.
“Labor believes Internet is an essential service, and we’re stepping in where the federal Liberal government has failed, by delivering the fastest, cheapest Internet speeds in the nation,” SA Premier Jay Weatherill said in a statement.
Last year the state government launched the GigCity broadband network, which offers gigabit broadband services to Adelaide startups and other businesses. Earlier this month the government announced that 16 additional “innovation precincts” would be connected to the network.
“Where we have rolled out our GigCity network, it has delivered speeds 50 to 100 times faster than previously available at these sites, 10 times faster than the NBN — and at least 50 per cent cheaper,” innovation minister Kyam Maher said.
The state’s budget, handed down in June, included $2.9 million over four years for the expansion of the GigCity network.
The network is based on SABRENet — the South Australian Broadband Research & Education Network — which is owned by the state government and the state’s universities.
The City of Adelaide in December announced that TPG would roll out 10 gigabit per second fibre network for businesses and other organisations.
The city council has said the network will complement the National Broadband Network as well as the GigCity program.
SA Labor today also announced that if re-elected it would establish a Department of Digital Innovation, which will develop a digital inclusion plan.
“We congratulate the government on today’s significant announcements,” SACOSS senior policy officer, Dr Greg Ogle said in a statement.
“Creating a new Department of Digital Innovation and the promise to create a Digital Inclusion Plan is clear evidence that they are serious about bridging the digital divide. There is still a lot of work to be done under any plan, but today’s announcement will provide a platform for doing this work to ensure that no-one is left behind in the digital future.”