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NBN Business Plan critics will always find reasons why not. Visionaries will get on with it!!

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Media Release 21 December 2010

NBN Business Plan critics will always find reasons why not Visionaries will get on with it!! Critics of the National Broadband Network (NBN) Business Plan released yesterday will always find reasons to knock its rollout but Visionaries will get on with the task of bringing Australia’s telecommunication services into the 21st Century according to the Independent Member for New England Tony Windsor. Mr Windsor is a strong supporter of the NBN being rolled out particularly to country Australians as he sees it as being the major piece of infrastructure that will negate distance, smallness and remoteness making country communities more competitive and attractive to live and from which to do business. He has described the NBN as the railways of the 21st Century. “The rollout of the National Broadband Network will lay the foundations for many opportunities for country communities to grow. “The rollout of the railway in the late 1800’s and 1900’s didn’t happen overnight and I’m sure cost-benefit analysis wasn’t done to the minutia that the critics of the NBN have been calling for. “For the Government to commit to rolling it out to country areas first and to cross-subsidise it so that people will pay the same price for equivalent service whether they live in the country or the city is a major concession that recognises the opportunity for everyone to benefit from the NBN,” Mr Windsor said. Mr Windsor also believes that for the Government to undertake the development of the NBN acknowledges that there are some utilities that are best provided by Government rather than the private sector. “Those who argue that ‘the market’ or competition will provide services across the country don’t have to look back very far to see that this philosophy failed in the telecommunication field before with those at the end of the line getting a raw deal. “We didn’t see private companies racing to provide services to smaller country communities when they could access the more lucrative metropolitan markets without the expense of setting up infrastructure for little or no return on their investment even with Government handouts to do so. “The old Telstra had a rate of return period on their investment in infrastructure of three years because they had to look after their shareholders interests - including the Commonwealth Government as it was preparing it for full sale - rather than providing a service across the nation. “Government can take a longer term return on investment in their business plan because their focus is rightly on the provision of a service. “Business plans are living documents that require continuous monitoring and refinement. “This is particularly the case of such large, long term projects like the NBN. “Many of the critics live in metropolitan areas where they can access high speed internet already and have better access to other services face to face, but the NBN will give country people better access to these services without having to leave town and that will certainly help bring some equity into the scheme of things,” Mr Windsor said.