Cheaper Broadband, But Not As Fast

By Mike Wheeler

By Mike Wheeler

  • Coalition NBN roll out will be cheaper
  • Claims it will be cheaper for consumers
  • Will offer speeds five times faster than current

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnball, along with opposition leader Tony Abbott, have outlined the coalition’s broadband plan if it wins the next federal election.

Both men claim that the new plan will not only save up to $17 billion, but will be just as effective as the one being rolled out at the moment by Labor.

The basic difference with regard to infrastructure between both plans is that Labor’s allows for a roll out of fibreoptic cable from hubs in the street directly to the home. On the other hand, the coalition will roll out fibre to hubs in the street and then use existing copper wire to transport the broadband to the home. Not only that, but Turnbull has said that his party’s roll out will be give every Australian access to fast broadband by 2016, while the whole project would be finished by 2019, two years earlier than the current roll out.

However, one of the main differences in practical terms is that Turnbull’s plan allows for 25Mbps download speeds by 2016, which is a quarter of what it will be under Labor’s plan, but still five times faster than is currently available. While by the end of 2019, the speeds will be up to 50Mbps.

“So what we’ve looked at is the experience around the world,” says Turnball. “We’ve done the hard analysis that the [Labor] government never did…This will deliver all of the services and applications Australians want and are prepared to pay for online, but it will do so sooner and cheaper and that is why this approach has been taken around the world.”

In a rebuttal, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy claims that the speed claims made by Abbott and Turnbull are dubious, and that the cost to consumers will be a lot more than the coalition is spruiking.

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