Tuesday, 09 April 2019 11:18

Fifield claims Labor has adopted Coalition's NBN policy Featured

Mitch Fifield: "Labor’s NBN policy amounts to no more than a trial and a review." Mitch Fifield: "Labor’s NBN policy amounts to no more than a trial and a review." Courtesy YouTube

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield claims the NBN policy announced by the Australian Labor Party on Tuesday is an admission that "the NBN technology debate of the last six years was just about politics".

In a statement, he said: "Labor’s NBN policy released today [Tuesday] is the final admission the Coalition’s plan to use a range of technologies to see NBN completed six to eight years sooner, and at $30 billion dollars less cost than Labor has worked. Labor’s NBN policy amounts to no more than a trial and a review."

In the policy, announced at a conference in Sydney, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said it would review the economics of the NBN, including the implications of the multi-technology mix, on the cash-flow of the NBN Co, the company which is rolling out the network.

With the rollout due to be completed next year, both Shorten and Rowland announced measures to get older Australians and low-income households connected, improve in-house wiring for fibre-to-the-node customers at no cost, improve NBN downtime for small businesses and consumers and trials of fibre upgrades.

Fifield said for years, the Coalition had been told by Labor that using a range of technologies, like the rest of the world, was not an option.

"Today, the Coalition’s policy has become Labor’s policy," he claimed. "Labor’s announcement today is a complete capitulation.

"Labor acknowledge the network will be built by 2020, but they still fail to acknowledge their approach would have taken longer, cost more and seen Australians pay an average of $500 more on their annual household Internet bills."

Fifield said under the Coalition, 99% of premises were now in design, construction or able to order a service while 75% of Australian premises could order a service.

Additionally, he claimed, 92% of regional Australian premises could order a service, 8.7 million premises could do so, five million had taken up a service, and Australia ranked seventh for broadband affordability among 22 countries analysed.

"NBN is on track for completion by the target year of 2020 – first estimated in 2014," Fifield said. "NBN [will] be completed for $51 billion – consistent with the peak funding range outlined in the Corporate Plan issued in August 2015."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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