Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull this morning claimed a report released over the weekend by the global Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) backed his arguments regarding Labor’s National Broadband Network project. Now it’s Stephen Conroy’s turn to do the same.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Communications Minister Conroy pointed out the report highlighted a number of positive benefits that would flow from the NBN.
“The OECD concludes that the NBN has the potential to yield substantial benefits, especially in terms of productivity, and that it will improve internet services for the entire population and promote a fairer competition between private firms on retail services,” they said.
The report also noted, however, that Labor’s project entailed “substantial financial uncertainties” and referred to the associated decision to shut down copper and HFC cable assets.
“Shutting down the copper and HFC networks for broadband is a commercial decision made by Telstra under the Heads of Agreement with NBN Co,” said Conroy’s spokesperson. “The competitive impact of the Agreement between Telstra and NBN Co will be scrutinised by the ACCC, as part of the Competition and Consumer Safeguards Bill currently before the Parliament.”
“The NBN will be a wholesale-only, open access network,” they added. “It will introduce genuine competition to the telecommunications market and this will open up genuine choice of services and drive highly competitive prices for consumers, whether they live in a capital city or in rural and regional areas.”
Conroy’s spokesperson also used other documentation from the OECD to make the Government’s case about the NBN.
“Australia has fallen further and further behind the rest of the world since the Liberals and Nationals voted to privatise Telstra without any review and without ever putting in place the arrangements to properly protect competition and services in regional areas,” they said.
“The most recent OECD statistics show Australia is now ranked 17th out of 31 countries for fixed broadband subscribers. Australians also pay more for broadband than most OECD countries – for average subscription prices, Australia is the 5th most expensive overall.”
Image credit: Office of Stephen Conroy