news The Opposition today released a new National Broadband Network policy for the Federal Election, with Labor committing to dumping the Coalition’s Fibre to the Node plans and supporting Fibre to the Premises instead, but keeping the other HFC cable, satellite and wireless aspects of the current plan.
You can download Labor’s full revised NBN policy document online here in PDF format.
In addition, Labor is set to hold a press conference on the NBN policy release in Sydney at 10:15AM this morning. It is expected the event will be broadcast on news channels such as ABC News 24 and/or Sky News.
In a statement issued this morning, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare said Labor’s plan would see FTTP rollout to up to two million more Australian homes and businesses than would have received the infrastructure under the Coalition.
The pair said the rollout of Malcolm Turnbull’s “second rate copper NBN” — Fibre-to-the-Node — would be phased out under Labor.
“Construction of Fibre to the Node will cease when the current pipeline of construction work is completed and design and construction of Fibre-to-the-Premises is scaled back up,” the pair said.
Labor would also commission Infrastructure Australia, with input from relevant experts, to manage the development of a plan that outlines how and when the parts of Australia left with FTTN should be transitioned to Fibre-to-the-Premises. This plan will be commissioned in the first term of a Shorten Labor Government.
The statement by Shorten and Clare contained little mention of the up to a third of the NBN which will consist of upgrading and extending the HFC cable networks owned by Telstra and Optus.
However, the new Labor NBN policy document released this morning makes it clear the rollout of HFC is set to continue under Labor, as under the Coalition.
“The Liberals have doubled the cost of their second rate NBN up to $56 billion,” Shorten and Clare went on.
“A Shorten Labor Government will cap the total funding for the NBN at $57 billion. Labor will spend exactly the same amount of public funding on the NBN as the Liberals. There will be no impact on the budget from this announcement.”
“The public equity contribution will be the same regardless of who wins the election. The difference is that up to two million more Australians will get a Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN under Labor.”
Shorten and Clare said the new policy meant that Labor would complete the initial rollout of the NBN by June 2022, “the same time the Liberals’ second-rate NBN is likely to be complete”.
The pair added: “Malcolm Turnbull has made a mess of the NBN. In the last three years: The cost of his second rate NBN has nearly doubled; The time it will take to build has more than doubled; [and] Australia has dropped from 30th in the world for internet speeds to 60th.”
“Malcolm Turnbull promised he could build a second rate copper NBN for $29.5 billion. This has now blown out to up to $56 billion,” the two Labor MPs said. “He also promised everyone in Australia would have access to the NBN this year. Currently less than 20 per cent of Australians have access to the NBN—a long way short of the 100 per cent he promised.”
“Worst of all, many Australians are getting a slower, second rate copper NBN that will not meet their needs into the future.”
“Fast broadband creates jobs. But you can’t have an innovation boom while you are still buffering. Australia’s global competitiveness will suffer as Malcolm Turnbull continues to roll out his second rate copper NBN, and opportunities for Australian enterprise and innovation will be lost to overseas markets—and the jobs will follow.”
“Malcolm Turnbull’s second rate NBN is holding Australia back. A Labor Government will fix Malcolm Turnbull’s mess and build the NBN we need to meet the needs of the future and create the jobs of the future.”
Opinion/analysis to follow throughout the day.
Image credit: Parliamentary Broadcasting