Kim Beazley would rob the $2 billion Communications Fund and take away reliable telecommunications from the bush, ICT Minister, Senator Helen Coonan, has claimed.
According to Coonan, Labor voted against the creation of a $2 billion Communications Fund and the $1.1 billion Connect Australia package.
“Under a Labor Government, Australians living in the bush would be told there was no money for mobile phones, no money for Indigenous telecommunications, no money for rollouts to support health and education initiatives, no money to subsidise satellite phones and no money to keep the bush in line with the city,” she said.
“This is Labour up to its old tricks – putting upgrades for telecommunications services on the Treasury credit card with no plan to pay it off. Rather than doing the hard work of developing a coherent plan for broadband, Labor wants to look for an easy fix.”
According to Coonan, the Australian Government has invested $2 billion in a Communications Fund, the interest from which will be reinvested in telecommunications services in the bush for years to come.
Beazley's proposed network - which would bring broadband of up to six megabits per second - failed Shadow Spokesperson for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy's own test for ‘true' broadband (at least 10 megabits per second), Coonan said.
“Both Stephen Conroy and Kim Beazley are already too late, under existing Government policies, high speed broadband of up to 24 megabits per second is already available in Australia and the Government will shortly call for Expressions of Interest under Broadband Connect to deliver these types of services across Australia," she said.
However a spokesperson from Senator Conroy’s office said the 24 megabits cited by Senator Connan only refered to people who lived close to an ISP’s local cable node.
“Less than 24 percent of Australians live close enough to those cables to get that kind of access," the spokesperson said. "What Labor is saying is we want to bring a minimum six megabits per second to all Australians and that’s just a minimum number.”
“The bush is long way behind the city and needs to be brought up to speed in a short amount of time. If fibre to the node is good enough for the city, why isn’t good enough for the bush. Residents need the equivalent service for the city and the bush."
Senator Coonan: Beazley's a telco "bandit"
By Lilia Guan on May 15, 2006 1:14PM