Labor, Coalition looking at powerline broadband

With the election looming, there does appear to be one issue that both Liberal and Labor can agree on: broadband over powerline could one day be used to get Internet access to Australia's remotest regions.

With the election looming, there does appear to be one issue that both Liberal and Labor can agree on: broadband over powerline could one day be used to get Internet access to Australia's remotest regions.

In response to questions gathered from readers, ZDNet Australia asked both parties for their stance on the question of broadband over powerline (BPL).

Communications Minister Helen Coonan told ZDNet Australia that her office is monitoring developments around new broadband technologies including BPL.

"My department has kept an eye on it," she said. "[Trials of the technology] suggested it could be a way of delivering broadband effectively into the home."

"It's very interesting. My department has a standing brief to be kept abreast of all developments," she added.

Labor communications spokesperson Stephen Conroy told ZDNet Australia that he has seen broadband over powerline technology used in Tasmania. "We've got some good working models," he added.

Conroy said that Labor will be looking at "all available" broadband delivery mechanisms, including broadband over powerline.

A number of trials of broadband over powerline are already underway in Australia, including a pilot by Country Energy in NSW and Aurora Energy in Tasmania.

NEC recently told ZDNet Australia that some of Australia's larger telcos are looking at BPL for last mile access.

However, NEC believes questions regarding interference will need to be solved before any large scale rollouts will go ahead.

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