Liberal: Conroy’s fibre-to-the-home network delivery is confusing

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Liberal: Conroy’s fibre-to-the-home network delivery is confusing

The Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Bruce Bilson, has come out and slammed Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s broadband delivery plans.

According to Senator Bilson, confusion has arisen surrounding Conroy's broadband delivery plans, with suggestions that a high-speed fibre-to-the-home network could be delivered under Labor’s $8 billion partnership proposal.

Labor’s key election promise was to provide $4.7 billion of taxpayers money towards building an $8 billion national fibre to the node network in partnership with the private sector and subject to a commercial return on investment.

Labor has pledged that the network, to be built over the next five years, will deliver a minimum of 12 megabits per second to 98 per cent of Australian homes and businesses.

While Labor’s proposal has always centred on fibre-to-the node, Senator Conroy now says the Rudd Government will also welcome proposals for a fibre to the home network.

“This shows the vaguery and shambolic nature of Labor's approach to broadband, with fibre-to-the-home or premise a vastly different and significantly more costly proposition than fibre-to-the-node,” Bilson said.

He questions how fibre-to-the-home could be in Labor’s equation when estimates suggest such a network would cost $40 billion or more.

“Labor’s fixed fibre broadband proposal also comes at a time when broadband deliveries through wireless and mixed technologies are rapidly gaining momentum,” Bilson added. “Labor wants its roll out to occur over five years and we will no doubt see an enormous amount of technological advancement before the network would even be up. Four years ago Labor was ludicrously pushing 40 kpbs dial-up internet as the way of the future.”

According to Bilson, the popularity of wireless broadband will continue to rise at rapid rates in the coming years as delivery speeds increase, reliability improves and competition drives down prices.

Bilson said these are key issues Senator Conroy must ponder in determining the viability of Labor's fibre network partnership proposal as it stands.

“I think we'll find once Senator Conroy receives some sound technical advice from his department and other experts, that Labor's views on broadband will be completely different to the simplistic rhetoric Senator Conroy and Kevin Rudd offered during the election campaign,” he said.

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