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Regional Australia's choice: proper broadband now or wait 35 years.

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Regional Australia's Choice: Proper Broadband Now Or Wait 35 Years

Media Statement - 25th October 2007

Stephen Conroy

A Rudd Labor Government will give Australians in regional cities and towns the world class broadband network they deserve - decades sooner than under a Liberal/National Government.

Liberals, Nationals and the National Farmers’ Federation are united in their commitment to a slow trickle of spending on regional telecommunications.

$400 million every three years for regional telecommunications from the ‘Communications Fund’ is not serious and it won’t deliver fast broadband.

Federal Labor, will invest up to $4.7 billion - including the $2 billion Communications Fund - for the construction of a National Broadband Network, in partnership with the private sector. The network will deliver minimum speeds of 12 megabits per second to 98% of Australians and will be progressively built over five years.

The 2 per cent of Australians not reached will get the best available new wireless, satellite and microwave technologies that will deliver services as close as possible to that of the new network.

“In fact, under the Coalition’s decision to delay the investment of the Communications Fund, rural and regional Australia will be waiting 35 long years to reach the same level of investment in telecommunications that Labor is prepared to do right now,” said Senator Conroy.

“The reason people in rural and regional Australia have so many problems at the moment is because for 11 long years under the Howard Government, telecommunications infrastructure has been neglected.

“People in regional Australia should look very closely at what we are offering them, and what the Government’s plan is.

“John Howard is offering regional cities and towns a second-rate wireless network that will require more than $400 million every three years to band-aid over.

“If regional Australians think they are better off under the Government’s sham broadband plan, they have been mislead,” said Conroy.

“The National Farmers’ Federation has supported the Coalition in their 17 different broadband plans and none have managed to lift Australian out of its broadband backwater status. Perhaps they should be starting to question their blind allegiance,” said Conroy.