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Garrett exposes Labor's broadband lie.

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Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate

Media Release

Media Contact Frank Peppard: 0417 061 969

177/07 Sunday 4 November 2007

Garrett exposes Labor’s broadband lie

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan said Peter Garrett’s admission that “once we (Labor) get in we’ll just change it all” explains why Labor is happy to continue pushing the lie that they will get broadband to 98 per cent of the population.

“Mr Rudd made a fundamental error by picking just one technology for his broadband plan - fibre-to-the-node - which only works if you live within 1.5kms from your local telephone exchange or node,” Senator Coonan said.

“It means that one in four Australians will not get high speed broadband under Labor.

“The entire industry has been perplexed by Labor’s single-technology plan because they all know that it is not possible, let alone practical.”

Just last week Optus’ head of technology Peter Ferris declared Labor’s single technology broadband plan “unimaginable” and impossible to cover 98 per cent of the population as claimed by Mr Rudd.

“There is no single technology solution to cover a country the size of Australia… A nationwide plan will have all sorts of different technologies,” Mr Ferris said.

“Mr Garrett has now revealed why Labor has stubbornly refused to change its broadband policy to include a mix of new generation technologies - Labor will just acknowledge the impossibility after the election and either adopt the Coalition’s plan or leave 3 million regional Australians stranded without broadband.

“The Coalition’s broadband network involves a mix of next generation technologies, including fibre, ADSL2+ and WiMAX wireless. WiMAX will have a coverage radius of 20kms.

“The Coalition’s broadband network will extend high speed broadband to 99 per cent of the population by 2009 at a retail cost of between $35 and $60 per month.

“The remaining 1 per cent of the population will receive a $2750 satellite subsidy.

“Contrast this with Labor’s proposal which will miss one in four households, cost families upwards of $100 per month, and won’t be available until 2013,” Senator Coonan said.