Labor: There is no future without fibre

Labor: There is no future without fibre

Summary: Labor Communications spokesperson Stephen Conroy has restated the Opposition's commitment to a pan-Australian fibre-to-the-node network, while accusing the government of wasting taxpayers' money with a planned WiMax rollout


Labor Communications spokesperson Stephen Conroy has restated the Opposition's commitment to a pan-Australian fibre-to-the-node network, while accusing the government of wasting taxpayers' money with a planned WiMax rollout.

Senator Conroy, writing today in The Australian, said that the government's choice of fixed WiMax to supply broadband to bush users was a mistake, adding the technology will not provide the speeds the government has advertised -- 20 to 40 times faster than those rural residents currently receive.

"The reality is that the minister is misleading the Australian public. Under the government's broadband plan Australians can expect speeds up to 20 times today's average," Senator Conroy wrote. The Opposition communications minister also criticised the government's lack of transparency over pricing of WiMax services to date.

"That is why Labor has proposed a national broadband plan that extends the superior technology, fibre-to-the-node, into rural and regional areas, to offer not just city comparable pricing but parity of service.

"The fibre-to-the-node service will deliver to 98 percent of Australians guaranteed minimum connection speeds that are 40 times faster than today's average.

"The remaining two percent will receive a standard of service which, depending on the available technology (fixed line, wireless or satellite), will be as close as possible to that provided by the new network," Senator Conroy wrote.

Under the federal government's vision, FTTN will be used solely in urban areas. Labor's plan for Australia's broadband future would, however, see a fibre network deployed to most of the country.

The specifications for the network were based on a Telstra plan which stated it would be possible to deliver 12Mbps fibre connectivity to 98 percent of the population for AU$4.7billion, although full details of how the scheme could work have yet to be revealed by Kevin Rudd's party.

Senator Conroy also criticised the Communications Minister Helen Coonan over the tender process for building the network, currently the subject of an upcoming court battle between Telstra and Senator Coonan, accusing the government of "moving the goalposts" during the procedure.

Senator Coonan, however, said the tender was "fair and consistent with both the guidelines, assessment plan and probity requirements".

Senator Conroy concluded by daring his government counterparts to eat their own dog food: "If the government's solution is good enough, we challenge the minister to switch over her office, her home and her department from the current fibre solution to the OPEL wireless product."

Topics: Broadband, Government, Government AU, Networking, NBN, IT Employment, Wi-Fi

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  • Conroy Stinks

    Of incompetence.
  • Australians demand a "FAIR GO".

    Thank God for Senator Conroy who exposes the vile hypocrisy of the Howard Government.

    Telstra is taking advantage of our fine democratic legal system to challenge Senator Coonan in Court, and Senator Coonan responds by threatening Telstra with sanctions demonstrating again the vindictive, dominating, born to rule attitude of the Howard Government.

    This "Question us and we will crush you" type of Government is unacceptable to the Australian people and little wonder Howard is headed for a huge defeat in the coming Election.
  • Conroy has absolutely no idea

    The guy's a total idiot.

    How do you propose we run fibre (at a cost of over $200/meter) to each and every farm in the country, without bankrupting the country?

    Conroy. It's called THE BEST TOOL FOR THE JOB. Wireless WiMAX is PERFECTLY suited to large sparsely populated areas, and the gear that OPEL intend to roll out is capable of 50mbps bursts per subscriber.

    For more densely populated urban areas, running fibre to a node, and then servicing people with copper who are 1.5km from the node (so they can actually get speeds > 12mbps), would work. IT WON'T WORK IN REGIONAL AREAS.

    Especially considering:

    a) Most regional areas don't even have neighbours closer than 1.5km from each other.
    b) The economics of having a fibre node only exists in densly populated areas.
    c) The whole fibre/copper network would be an absolute nightmare to maintain.

    He's an idiot...
  • You're a joke Sydney Lawrence.

    Go back to 'now we are talking' and spit your deluded vile posts there.

    Howard government is pro-competition. You and your cronies fear it.

    OPEL will bring one thing that Telstra never can to regional areas. COMPETITION. Regional areas covered by OPEL WiMAX will never have it so good.

    Don't let that stop you posting crap though. Pretty sad that a man of your (retirement) age spends his best days being a shill for Telstra.
  • Regional Broadband

    Howard and DCITA have had 11 years to legislate, regulate, sell Telstra, and and define the development of Telecommunications for Australia.
    Howard & co have created an abysmal mess and wasted billions of $ with their short term patchwork "incentives" on their "road to nowhere".

    Well beyond time to provide regional Australia with adequate facilities instead of a ramshackle duplication of an existing network. at the cost of a $1 billion subsidy .
  • See you in Rio pal.

    Anon you sure know how to hurt a guy.

    But truly my best days are spent holidaying around the world or cruising the oceans on a huge luxury liner so really you do not need to feel sadness for me.

    Save the sorrow for yourself knowing that you constantly back a loser and display great bitterness because of it.
  • Stupid argument

    The technologies DIDN'T EXIST 11 YEARS AGO.

    THEY ONLY JUST EXIST NOW. Especially WiMAX and 3G LTE.

    Duplication is necessary to promote competition. Telstra cry 'duplication' when really they mean 'no competition'.

  • Product

    Will labor like it has done with the kevin07 T shirts sourse the labour and equipment and product from overseas at a cheaper rate.

    This is the Labor way as this is what the leader has done and disrespected the Australian Manufacturing sector,workers and families.
    It has also come to notice that the un ions are quite happy for this to happen as they have put their heads in the sand.

    Stuart Ulrich
    Independent Candidate for Charlton