Google chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt has thrown his support behind the Federal Government's $37.5 billion National Broadband Network project, describing it as "wonderful" in a question and answer session at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
In response to a question from an Australian on online advertising, Schmidt took time out to praise the government's controversial project.
"Let me start by saying Australia is leading the world in understanding the importance of fibre," Schmidt said. "Your new Prime Minister as part of her campaign and now, you know, as part of her prime ministership, has announced that by roughly I think 2015 [or] 2016, 93 per cent of Australians, which I guess are all the folks in the cities, will have gigabit or equivalent service using fibre. And the other 7 per cent will be handled through wireless services of a nature of [Long Term Evolution]."
"This is leadership. And again, from Australia, which I think is wonderful."
Schmidt recently stepped down from the role as Google CEO, replaced by co-founder Larry Page.