Australia’s Coalition Promises Download Data Rate of 25-100 Mbps by Late 2016, 50-100 Mbps by 2019 Under Opposition Broadband Policy

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By Vittorio Hernandez | April 9, 2013 4:15 PM EST

The Coalition in Australia released on Tuesday its broadband policy which would cost Aussie taxpayers less at A$29 billion. It would replace the fiber-to-the-premises (Fttp) deployment used by the current National Broadband Network (NBN) to a fibre-to-the-node (FttN) network.

The new policy is different from the one made by the Opposition in 2010.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that despite the scale-down using a mix of technologies, all Australian households and businesses would have download data speed of 25 to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) by late 2016. It would further accelerate to 50-100 Mbps by 2019.

In contrast, the current download average is less than 5 Mbps, he said, adding that suburbs, regions, towns and business districts suffering from poor broadband services and the greatest need would get first priority.

He added prices will be capped across the country to ensure that Australians in both rural and urban areas would get good services at fair prices. Under the current NBN, wholesale charges per user are scheduled to triple by 2021.

Mr Turnbull said the Coalition broadband policy would benefit about 2 million Australians who have suffered from lack of basic fixed government after five Labor-led governments.

However, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the Opposition plan fails to provide the capacity that future data-hungry applications would need. He compared the Coalition policy to building a one-lane Sydney Harbour Bridge.

"The Coalition doesn't want to build for the future. Tony Abbott says Australia can't afford to have the best communication system in the world. Well Labor says you can't afford not to have it," The Australian quoted Mr Conroy.

He said it is difficult to achieve the minimum promised speed of 25 Mbps using Australia's degrading copper network.

Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese warned that the Opposition plan would be a disaster because the technology to be used would not be upgraded easily and likely would fail to deliver the promised speeds.

The Opposition plan would also need renegotiation of the NBN deal with Telstra to access the copper network and install upgrades.

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