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Labor fails to connect.



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The Hon Bob Baldwin MP Federal Member for Paterson

29 January 2009

LABOR FAILS TO CONNECT

Paterson resident’s frustration is continuing to mount over the Labor Governments failure to deliver on its broadband election promises, Member for Paterson Bob Baldwin MP said.

“Labor promised it would select a network builder for its broadband network within six months of coming to office. Yet, 14 months into their term, neither construction into these services nor connection is still available for many disadvantaged residents in the Paterson electorate,”

Mr Baldwin said.

“I have had a number of constituents contact me, particularly in the Thornton area, outlining their anger and frustration at the lack of services currently available to them, under the Rudd Labor Government.

“The availability of broadband in the region is simply not up to par. With school starting up again for another year it is especially paramount that residents should have access to an affordable, high speed service; it should be their prerogative.

A recent letter from a constituent goes on to describe how dire the situation is becoming. They wrote ‘…I have been trying for nearly two months to get it (broadband) up and running. At present, I am waiting (not-so-patiently by now) for Bigpond to send me a second, more powerful signal booster, in the hope that the most powerful booster they can supply will allow me better dial-up speed, and stop the somewhat-regular signal drop-outs I now suffer.’

“The Rudd Government must be held to account for its failure to deliver a fibre-to-the node network, which they said would service 98 per cent of Australian household and businesses.

“To make Labor’s failures worse is the fact that the former Coalition Government had a firm plan to deliver affordable and high-speed broadband services to the entire population by the middle of 2009.

“This included a targeted rural and regional Australia broadband plan (OPEL) which would have seen the Commonwealth invest $958 million, to deliver new metro-equivalent broadband services to in excess of

500,000 underserved premises across the nation,” Mr Baldwin said.

“The Paterson electorate would have been directly benefited by these plans as the Coalition stood firm on their promise to deliver 25 new WiMAX base stations and 8 telephone exchanges upgraded to ADSL2 broadband in the region. Furthermore, OPEL would have delivered new metro-equivalent broadband services to around 22,750 under served premises.

“The Rudd Government inexplicably cancelled this project despite having no alternative to it. Now the people of rural and regional Australia are left hoping they might see benefits from the NBN

sometime over the next five or more years,” Mr Baldwin said.

Media enquiries: Elizabeth Watkin- 0404 005 036

Bob Baldwin - 0419 694 620

www.bobbaldwin.com.au Electorate: PO Box 156 Raymond Terrace NSW 2324, 35 Sturgeon Street Raymond Terrace. Phone (02) 4983 1330 Canberra: Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Phone (02) 6277 4200

Email: bob.baldwin.mp@aph.gov.au