10th Aug 2010. The federal Liberal/National coalition has finally released its A$6bn alternative election policy (a 19 page document) to Labors A$43bn National Broadband Network policy.
Press commentary on the 2 alternative election policies focuses on:
- the risk of successful rollout of large infrastructure projects undertaken by government
- an unclear/weak return on investment/the best use of tax payer’s dollars
- delivering broadband to regional Australia
- the best way to enhance competition in the Telecommunications industry
- concern the coalition policy maintains an unbalanced competition regime with Telstra the “vertically integrated gorilla”
- fibre-based communication technologies vs. copper and wireless technologies
According to the party press release, the policy offers:
“Australians need fast, reliable and affordable broadband services – and the Coalition will take real action to deliver them over an affordable high-speed broadband network using the best mix of optical fibre, HFC, wireless, DSL and satellite.”
“The Coalition’s plan will deliver uniform nationwide availability of high speed broadband.”
“By 2016 Australia will achieve a national broadband baseline, under which 97 percent of premises are able to be served by high-speed networks capable of delivering from 100 Mbps down to a minimum of 12 Mbps peak speed, using a combination of technologies including HFC, DSL, and fixed wireless.”
“We will emphasise affordable broadband, with all such premises wherever they are in Australia able to receive services at prices comparable to those for similar services in metropolitan Australia.”
“The Coalition will cancel Labor’s reckless and expensive National Broadband Network. The NBN would be a $43 billion taxpayer funded white elephant. It would do nothing to deliver lower prices – it just substitutes one monopoly for another. The NBN gives no priority to those who do not get an adequate service today – in fact Labor’s plan leaves them waiting up to eight years before they see a change.”
“Instead of creating a new inefficient Government run monopoly, the Coalition’s plan will stimulate a vibrant, private sector-based broadband market, with Government involved to encourage competition and ensure services reach all Australians.”
“Central to the Coalition’s plan is a $2.75 billion investment (with the expectation of leveraging at least $750 million in additional private sector funding) to create a nation-wide competitive fibre optic ‘backbone’ by 2017. In addition the Coalition will legislate to allow the ACCC to set access pricing to support broadband competition.”
In total the Coalition’s plan will provide up to $6.315 billion over seven years in grant and investment funding to stimulate the build of new access and backhaul networks including:
- $750 million for Fixed Broadband Optimisation to significantly increase the number of households which can receive a DSL service or high speed equivalent.
- Up to $1 billion in grant funding for new fixed wireless networks in rural and remote Australia.
- Up to $1 billion in investment funding for new fixed wireless networks in metropolitan
- $700 million to support the provision of improved satellite delivered broadband services to the last three percent of the population.