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Labor made phoney broadband maps, says Coalition

Communications Minister Helen Coonan has accused her Labor counterpart of releasing "doctored" maps of broadband coverage in Tasmania, which show the government's planned WiMax network only delivering half the coverage promised by the Coalition.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan has accused her Labor counterpart of releasing "doctored" maps of broadband coverage in Tasmania, which show the government's planned WiMax network only delivering half the coverage promised by the Coalition.

The Labor party yesterday released research -- "supported by technical experts as well as independent research performed by the right-wing think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs" according to the party -- which it says shows the coverage area of OPEL's AU$1 billion bush broadband network will be 50 percent less than the government's own estimates have suggested.

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The WiMax network will extend broadband coverage to 99 percent of Australians when it goes live across the country in 2009, according to the Minister's office.

Labor communications spokesperson Stephen Conroy said yesterday the government's maps showing where the WiMax network will reach have ignored topographical issues which can negatively affect wireless coverage, such as hills, and other elements that may block line of sight between a user and the base station, including large buildings.

The government has hit back at Senator Conroy's assertions, claiming the Labor maps have been "doctored by a company owned by a former Labor staffer".

The maps are copyrighted to Subrepublic which, the Coalition says, is owned by Nathan Lambert, a former Victorian ALP IT worker.

"Labor has simply ordered [the company's owner] to prepare phoney maps of the Coalition's broadband plan and then pretended that they have been produced by an independent source," Coonan said in a statement.