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Fast, affordable broadband for regional Australia sooner.



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Media Contact Paul Chamberlin mob 0419 233 989 ph 02 6277 4482 paul.chamberlin@aph.gov.au www.nationals.org.au

10 August 2010

FAST, AFFORDABLE BROADBAND FOR REGIONAL AUSTRALIA SOONER

Regional Australia will receive high speed and affordable broadband services years earlier under the Coalition’s national broadband plan, the Leader of The Nationals Warren Truss MP said today.

The Coalition’s comprehensive plan identifies areas that are currently underserved, particularly in outer-metropolitan and rural and remote areas, and will give them priority.

Under our plan 97 percent of Australian households will have access to high speed broadbrand services by 2016, with the remaining three percent receiving an improved satellite service.

The Coalition’s affordable and realistic broadband plan will commit:

• $750 million, including in the regions, for Fixed Broadband Optimisation to significantly increase the number of households which can receive a high speed telephone service. • Up to $1 billion in grant funding for new fixed wireless networks in rural and remote Australia • Up to $1 billion in investment funding for new fixed wireless networks in metropolitan Australia,

with an emphasis on outer metropolitan areas. • Grant funding of up to $700 million to support the provision of improved satellite delivered broadband services to the last three percent of the population.

The Nationals understand the importance of delivering high-speed and affordable broadband to regional Australia. That is why our plan will work from outside the major cities, rather than attempt to replicate commercially available services,” Mr Truss said.

“Better internet access will help deliver better health services, better education, better employment and more business opportunities for people living in regional Australia.”

“Labor’s $43 billion tax-payer funded white elephant National Broadband Network (NBN) is one of its greatest policy failures. If Labor had not scrapped our previous scheme, regional Australians would already be enjoying access to high speed broadband. Instead, under Labor’s plan they will wait another

eight years - if Labor is re-elected and if it ever delivers on its loose promises.

“Experts say that the cost of the NBN could blow out to nearly double and those in regional Australia are likely to end up with an inferior service as Labor racks up more debt and runs out of money for its reckless, unrealistic scheme.

“The Coalition’s plan combines the best mix of optical fibre, wireless, DSL and satellite technology to deliver services across the nation sooner, providing real benefits where they are needed,” he said.

Today’s announcement also included a number of commitments to improving basic telecommunications services, particularly in regional areas.

$30 million will be available to address mobile phone coverage blackspots to ensure all Australians can access a adequate and reliable mobile phone services.

There is also a commitment to strengthen the Universal Service Obligation for basic telecommunication services, as recommended by the Glasson Review.