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Rudd's opportunity to identify Tasmanian households that will miss out under Labor?s broadband plan.



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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

Travelling with the Minister, Frank Peppard: 0417 061 969 In the office, Katherine Meier: 02 9223 4388 or 0417 441 141

171/07 Thursday 25 October 2007

Rudd’s opportunity to identify Tasmanian households that will miss out under Labor’s broadband plan

Kevin Rudd has an ideal opportunity while he is Tasmania today to come clean and tell Tasmanian families and small businesses which areas will miss out under Labor’s broadband plan, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator the Hon Helen Coonan, said today.

“Labor is covering up the fact that one in four Australians will not get fast broadband under their proposal, leaving more than 3 million families and small businesses in Australia stranded.

“Sadly, for residents of Tasmania, they are among the 3 million households that will miss out on a high speed connection under Labor and they have every right to ask Labor for their coverage maps.

“Labor made a fundamental mistake picking just one technology - fibre - and dismissing the rest. There is no doubt that fibre broadband is fast but only if you live within 1.5kms from a telephone exchange or node.

“In contrast, the Coalition’s broadband plan will have a coverage radius of up to 20 kms using a mix of next generation technologies including fibre, ADSL2+, and WiMAX,” Senator Coonan said.

“Declaring Labor’s single technology broadband plan “unimaginable”, Optus’ head of technology and planning Peter Ferris this week said that Labor’s fibre plan could not possibly cover 98 per cent of the population.”

“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.

“Even the National Farmers Federation, which hasn’t run a political advertisement in 20 years, has been forced to take out national TV and radio ads this week to say a Rudd Labor Government has promised to abolish the $2 billion regional Communications Fund to finance their metropolitan network.

In the advertisements, NFF President David Crombie says:

‘…the Communications Fund guarantees rural Australians won’t be left behind. But federal Labor plans to scrap the Fund. At this election consider the devastating effect this will have on you, your business and your community’.

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“The Coalition has released all of the details of its plan to extend high speed broadband to 99 per cent of the population, including coverage maps, so what has Labor got to hide?

“Under the Coalition’s broadband plan, Tasmania will soon have 15 exchanges upgraded to very fast ADSL2+ broadband and 45 new wireless ‘WiMAX’ broadband sites will be installed across the state,” Senator Coonan said.

The 15 Tasmanian exchanges to be upgraded to ADSL2+ (up to 20 megabits per second), will be Bridgewater, Burnie, Devonport (two sites), Dodges Ferry, Kingston, Launceston (three sites), George Town, Waverly, New Norfolk, Sorell, Ulverstone and Wynyard.

The 44 WiMAX sites, which will enable wireless broadband of up to 12Mbps, will include: Bothwell, Bridport, Burnie, Chudleigh, Colebrook, Devonport, East Yolla, Epping, Exeter, Jericho, George Town, Huonville, Judbury, Karoola, Kingston, Latrobe, Launceston (two

sites), Liena, Marrawah, Meander (two sites), Moltema, Montague, Montumana, Mount Barrow, Nabageena, Nabowla, New Norfolk, North Motton, Penguin, Perth, Poatina, Richmond, Ross, Smithton, Snug, Sorell, Stanley, Westbury, Westerway, Weymouth, Winnaleah and Wynyard.

“Labor’s broadband plan will slug Australian families upwards of $100 per month and won’t even be turned on until 2013 - four years after the Coalition Government’s high speed network will be fully deployed.

“In contrast, the Coalition’s new high speed broadband network is already being rolled out and will deliver fast, affordable broadband to 99 per cent of Australians by 2009 at a retail cost between $35 and $60 per month,” Senator Coonan said.