Malcolm Turnbull is, as you might expect, one of the more Internet savvy of Australia’s politicians. His website is informative, his newsletters and tweets are worth reading, and as a former journalist and all round smart cookie he knows how to express himself.
Yesterday Turnbull published a detailed list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Coalition’s NBN policy on his website. Many of these questions are of course asked frequently only by the Coalition, with the answers framed in such a way as to present its case in a positive way, but the canned Q&A session does give us a comprehensive look at key aspects of the policy.
Some extracts below. If you want a look at the whole document, go to:
How much will the Internet cost under the Coalition?
The Coalition is absolutely committed to affordable broadband and telephone prices. One of our key concerns with Labor’s NBN is that it is too costly. These costs will be recovered from users, which can only mean higher prices.
Under the Coalition, more prudent and efficient investment keeps prices lower, and means the average user will save up to $300 a year on their broadband bills compared to under Labor.
Is it true that Australians may have to pay up to $5000 for an Internet connection under the Coalition?
No. This is another example of Labor’s lies about broadband in which it goes so far as to claim that connecting to “Labor’s NBN” is “free”. The truth is that whether it is a Labor NBN or a more prudently managed and cost effectively designed Coalition NBN, customers will have to pay a retail service provider in order to have an active connection to the NBN. But there is no fee payable to the NBN to have the connection made possible.
Our goal is to ensure all Australians have very fast broadband by 2016 and that everybody can access at least 25 Mbps. While 25 Mbps will be the peak speed on the satellite and fixed wireless services (under Labor’s plan for under the Coalition’s), it will be the floor speed under the Coalition’s plan and most consumers in the fixed line footprint will be able to access 50 Mbps or faster. Our 2019 goal is to ensure that at least 90% of consumers in the fixed line footprint can access 50 Mbps and of course over time the network will continue to be improved as demand requires.
Labor’s reference to paying for a connection is classic spin. While we anticipate that for the vast majority of consumers in the areas serviced by FTTN the speeds offered will be more than adequate, there is the technical possibility to run fibre to one or more customers in an area served by a node. In the UK this product, known as “fibre on demand” is made available for a fee. For a customer living 500 metres from a node, for example, the charge is about $2,250.
Note that under our plan greenfield estates, business districts, schools, hospitals, universities and anywhere that fibre is commercially justifiable will be connected to fibre. FTTN is primarily a solution for cost effective service in residential areas. Fibre on demand is the most practical way of ensuring that a network like the NBN is rolled out as quickly as possible to all users, without imposing unnecessary costs on everyone using that network.
For more of Turnbull's FAQ's, read on ...