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Minister makes regional broadband users pay the price for NBN cost blowouts

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Luke Hartsuyker MP

Shadow Minister for Regional Communications, Shadow Minister for Youth and Sport Federal Member for Cowper

Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33 0408 532 785 Canberra: 62 77 4447

27 May 2011

Minister makes regional broadband users pay the price for NBN cost blowouts

Labor’s National Broadband Network is now cutting corners in order to cover cost blowouts, with tens of thousands of regional consumers denied the opportunity to receive faster speeds through the NBN interim satellite service.

NBN Co announced last night that regional broadband users will not be eligible for the NBN interim satellite service if they can currently access download speeds of 512 kilobits per second.

Shadow Minister for Regional Communications Luke Hartsuyker said Labor was once again guilty of over-promising and under-delivering.

“This announcement means tens of thousands of regional users will have to wait another four years before they can access faster speeds,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was very quick to spruke the merits of the interim satellite service, but once again the policy detail falls well short of Labor’s rhetoric.

“When the Minister announced the interim satellite service program he said speeds of up to 6 megabit per second would be made available. However, now he is only going to allow a small percentage of people to apply for the service.

“As the NBN business case continues to fall apart, it is clear the imminent cost blowouts are going to be paid for by people in regional areas.

“This is a disgrace, given the majority of blackspots and the need for increased broadband speeds is greatest outside of the main metropolitan areas.

“Let’s not forget that under the Howard Government these regional users would be receiving speeds of up to 12 mbps right now under the OPEL contract which Minister Conroy cancelled. Under OPEL, 99 per cent of Australians would have had access to broadband speeds of up to 12 Mbps.

“Over the past three years later we have seen no substantial increase in broadband speeds in regional areas and no indication that services are likely to improve in the near future,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Despite Labor’s rhetoric, the NBN has meant that regional consumers are waiting longer for faster broadband.”