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Time for the Coalition to stop hiding on broadband

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Time for the Coalition to stop hiding on broadband

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today called on Malcolm Turnbull to stop hiding from the Australian people and release the Coalition’s broadband plan.

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Mr Turnbull says “we do have our policy ready”.

“If that is the case, what is the hold-up? Instead of accusing Australian IT journalists of being NBN-zealots, he should reveal his plan in detail,” Senator Conroy said.

“Mr Turnbull has identified British Telecom as the model for Coalition policy. In doing so he ignores the fact that BT is a vertically integrated incumbent.

“Is his plan to get Telstra to build an FTTN network and give Telstra back its monopoly?

“Or is he planning to have NBN Co buy back Telstra’s ageing copper network, with its estimated $1 billion annual maintenance billi and establish a new government monopoly called Network Co.ii

“Does his plan still rely on the use of HFC networks? How will he ensure these networks are upgraded to be open access, are connected to apartment blocks, and can provide business grade services?

“What year will Mr Turnbull finish the Coalition’s FTTN network? Will it only be finished in 2020, as predicted by Goldman Sachs?iii

“It is time Mr Turnbull came clean and released the Coalition’s broadband plans for public scrutiny.”

Date: 21 August 2012 Contact: Adam Sims 0408 258 457

i “While (the NBN) will allow for much higher levels of voice and data traffic, the technological superiority of optic fibre over Australia’s ageing fixed line copper network is estimated to reduce industry maintenance costs by between $600 million to $700 million per annum once fully deployed. However, these benefits would be put at risk if the NBN project were delayed or cancelled by future Federal governments.” Adrian Hart, Senior Manager, BIS Shrapnel. ii

Address to the National Press Club, Malcolm Turnbull, 3 August 2011. iii Goldman Sachs analyst Raymong Tong predicted the Coalition’s FTTN rollout “would still not be completed until 2020”, Australian Financial Review, 21 August, p 21.