Conroy pledges NBN map, same policies

Conroy pledges NBN map, same policies

Summary: Although Communications Minister Stephen Conroy did promise to unveil a blueprint of the National Broadband Network (NBN) tomorrow, he didn't outline any new significant election policies in the technology field during a speech to the cream of Australia's technology sector in Melbourne today — promising instead "more of the same".

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Although Communications Minister Stephen Conroy did promise to unveil a blueprint of the National Broadband Network (NBN) tomorrow, he didn't outline any new significant election policies in the technology field during a speech to the cream of Australia's technology sector in Melbourne today — promising instead "more of the same".

Tomorrow, Conroy said, he will attend a function in Perth with Prime Minister Julia Gillard where he will reveal the exact locations where fibre will be rolled out and which areas will have to rely on satellite or wireless. Conroy promised Gillard would put the event "front and centre", which he hoped would spur the issue of technology to the top of the agenda in the election campaign.

In addition, the minister said he will shortly be visiting Tasmania to celebrate the formal launch of the first customers to be connected to NBN fibre in the state.

Conroy also promised that by the end of 2010, the government would release a "long-term digital economy" strategy that would highlight how the NBN's potential could be fully realised in Australia. He also promised a wide-ranging review of telecommunications regulation.

"If elected, the Labor Government will move to commence a comprehensive review of communications regulations. This type of review would consider all media platforms," Conroy said, "including free TV, subscriptions, video on demand, IPTV and mobile TV."

However, most of his speech focused on his past achievements and his belief that carrying on in the same vein was just the ticket.

"I was interviewed recently for one newspaper, and the interviewer started off by saying what are you going to be doing, more of the same? Or you got a few new ideas?" said Conroy. "And I thought — more of the same. Introduced micro-economic reform, analog switch-off — no, we've not been up to much."

Conroy said the National Broadband Network and the digital television switchover were enormously challenging projects that would require detailed attention.

The Opposition has not yet released any broadband policy as part of the election policy, nor clarified its policy on key issues such as the internet filter. However, it has pledged to cancel the NBN in general if elected.

He took the chance to take a stab at the Opposition, claiming it had had no less than 18 separate broadband policies over the past 20 years that had led to a flawed system.

"In the communications sector, Australians have a choice between progress — moving forward — or standing still," said Conroy.

The lunch was attended by a number of top-ranking local technology executives, including local HP chief Paul Brandling and SMS Management & Technology industry director Paul Cooper, both of whom asked Conroy questions about how the technology industry and government could work better on outcomes.

Commonwealth Bank technology tsar Michael Harte was also in attendance and participated in a panel after Conroy's speech.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government AU

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6 comments
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  • Stop trying to dodge the filter issue, Conboy; it'll bite you in the **** whether you like it or not.
    Hyperion09
  • Elections are a tough call for IT people. Too many variables.
    The way I see it:
    Labor = NBN + Filter
    Liberal = No NBN + maybe filter (who will give odds here?)
    Greens = NBN + NO Filter
    & for those who prefer minor parties:
    The Australian Sex Party= NBN + NO Filter
    Family First = No NBN and Bigger Filter. (Just in case you can get around the filter (sic) it will be harder to download anything they don't like including torrents!)

    Extra info: Greens support more investment in Australian IT. Now if Kate Lundy would defect to the Greens THAT would be interesting.
    pilotyoda
  • What I find intriguing pilotyoda, is that the two Coalition members have opposing ICT views. No wonder they still do not have a policy!

    Apparently the Nationals are for the NBN and against net filtering!

    Where as the Liberals ars against the NBN and fence sitting on net filtering (imho - odds are 100% we'll get a filter under Abbott, in some form). But...

    If I voted National and the Coalition win - with Liberal party leader Tony Abbott as PM then scrapping the NBN and a filter, in fact introduced too, I'd be p***ed, feel duped and rue my wasted vote!

    A team having different views on the one issue is sneakily dishonest imho...
    RS-ef540
  • How is it sneakily dishonest?…. You know about their positions, so do I. It is open disagreement. ;)

    Imo, the minimum we would get under L-NP would be something like OPEL with a focus on regional/rural sites, and maybe opt-in fibre lead-ins to all new buildings/residences, though increased use of technologies such as VDSL2 may negate this.

    Re:…“odds are 100% we'll get a filter under Abbott, in some form”…. If I remember correctly when the Liberals were in government they introduced mandatory rules on ISPs providing personal OPT-IN filters (of the Net-Nanny kind), leaving the decision to parents to protect their kids, and this was still their policy when debated on ABC-TV’s QANDA program a few month back.

    Contrast this to Conroy… he has put the Internet Filter on the backburner until after the election. (We wouldn’t want ANYTHING negative to disrupt the election campaign now would we?)

    To those of us in the ICT industry we know it continues to be an ever present threat, but to the majority mum and dads that may have a negative opinion of this it is removed from their front of mind and probably won’t even be considered come election day.

    After the election and if they win, Conroy will claim it was ALP policy and he has a ‘clear mandate’ to introduce the filter.

    I would say that’s sneakily dishonest.
    FiberLover
  • PhillIT, I don't know if you heard but there's an election being held on the 21/8?

    So why does one side spill their guts and tell us, even though we don't like it, but the others don't?

    The fact is, we know if we vote for Conroy, we will get a filter. So if you don't want a filter vote against Conroy, simple!

    So vote for the Libs, right? But if you vote for the Libs they won't tell us, if we will or wont get filtered.

    That's sneakily dishonest, only a fortnight out from an election and try as you might to defend your obvious political preference, the Libs...you really can't deny it.

    Well you can, but you'll have even less cred and your bias will become even more evident!
    RS-ef540
  • Ooh almost forgot PhilIT. I found your opening lines, most humorously contradictory!

    You said - "How is it sneakily dishonest?…. You know about their positions, so do I. It is open disagreement. ;)...Imo, the minimum we would get under L-NP would be something like OPEL with a focus on regional/rural sites, and maybe opt-in fibre... etc

    No... I don't know about the Libs position. All I know is, no NBN and maybe a filter.

    You say you know, then you go on to guess... "something like OPEL" and "maybe fibre"... as to what the coalition "may" deliver! LOL, Phil that's precious.

    Well at least you know the maybes.. and that's better than the Libs and especially better than Tony Whatshsiname - shadow (how apt) comms minister!

    But to show I do not have political allegiances, I do agree with you. Labor putting the filtering issue out of sight out of mind is equally, sneakily dishonest!

    Sadly IT isn't playing a big part in this election. So if Labor gets in, we will get a filter and as you said, they received a mandate, so. As too, will the NBN be stopped, if the Libs win, as they can claim a mandate ther too. So...
    RS-ef540