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Eight year wait for regional communities to access Broadband network.

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

Luke Hartsuyker MP Federal Member for Cowper


November 5, 2008

Eight year wait for regional communities to access Broadband network

The Rudd Government’s election promise to build a high speed Broadband network is fast becoming the great “Conroy con” following revelations it may not be built in regional areas for another eight years.

Federal MP Luke Hartsuyker said recent media reports have highlighted Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy’s poor management of improving Broadband services in regional Australia.

“After 12 months in office Stephen Conroy’s timetable for a new Broadband network is already six months behind schedule,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“However, what is equally concerning are revelations published in The Australian newspaper this week that if Telstra secures the tender for $4.7 billion in taxpayer funds, they intend to build the network first in the capital cities and then in regional areas.

“Telstra anticipates it will take five years to complete the capital cities and a further three years for non metropolitan areas.

“So regional areas could be waiting up to eight years for a network which could effectively be out of date by the time it is delivered - if it is going to be delivered at all. Even if it is built the 12Mbp speeds promised will be substantially slower than the needs of many users.

“This makes a mockery Minister Conroy’s decision earlier this year to cancel the $1 billion OPEL contract which would have seen fast internet Broadband services rolled out in regional areas in 2008 and 2009.

“It highlights the absolute contempt the Rudd Government has for regional Australia and is a reminder that the one size fits all attitude will fail to meet the needs of consumers and business.

“The Rudd Government’s Broadband policy is now looking like another political stunt which was designed simply for a headline.

“Like many of the Rudd Government’s pre-election promises when you scratch below the surface there is very little policy substance,” Mr Hartsuyker said.