Communications Minister Stephen Conroy yesterday attacked the Coalition’s plans for an alternative to the National Broadband Network, calling the rival policy as “half-baked” and cobbled together.
The Coalition unveiled what appeared to be its plans for for the NBN if it was to win the next election this week, with Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberal Party’s Shadow Minister for Broadband and Communications, laying out the plans to attendees at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia lunch in Sydney on Wednesday.
As part of the proposed action plan, Turnbull revealed that should the Government regain power, the Liberals would ask the Productivity Commission to perform a cost-benefit analysis on the best way to deliver high-speed Internet to Australians, before re-negotiating the Government’s deal with Telstra regarding the long-term leasing of their ducts and equipment announced last month.
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy went on the attack on Friday, labelling the Liberals planned alternative to the NBN as an “inferior, patchwork network” which will make Australians “second class citizens.” “The Coalition’s plan would be to stop the NBN’s progress in its tracks and substitute it with an inferior, patchwork network that is cobbled together with bits and pieces of outdated and worn out copper infrastructure that will deliver a substandard and more costly service to many Australians,” he said in a statement.
“Mr Turnbull claims his plan will be more cost-effective and that any costs resulting from changes to the NBN would be dwarfed by the savings. But he hasn’t even put a cost on his proposal. He needs to stop misleading the Australian public and come clean on costs.”
However Turnbull says that the Coalition was unable to accurately price their proposal because of the lack of costing information released by Labor surrounding the NBN.
“As Senator Conroy knows, the Coalition cannot put a definitive dollar figure on the cost of sorting out his financial disaster because he has not released sufficient financial information for anyone, including Telstra shareholders, to analyse or understand the deals with Optus and Telstra,” Turnbull said yesterday.
Conroy also dismissed claims that using fibre to the node would be a more efficient alternative to the NBN’s fibre to the premises, mentioning that Government research shows the technology wouldn’t deliver “value for money”. “In 2008 the Government tested the market for a FTTN solution and concluded that the market would not and could not deliver value for money and that there was a better long-term option – namely, fibre to the premises,” Conroy said.
Turnbull the Coalition’s rival proposal would see the party offer Australians a “faster and more cost-effective” network that could be rolled out faster across Australia than the NBN, which itself is expected to be completed by 2020.