Minchin calls for broadband market review

The Coalition has called on the Rudd Government to have the Productivity Commission examine Australia's broadband market or risk wasting billions on its new national network proposal.

The Coalition has called on the Rudd Government to have the Productivity Commission examine Australia's broadband market or risk wasting billions on its new national network proposal.

"The government should set aside its latest proposal and move to a full Productivity Commission inquiry to avoid the risk of wasting billions of taxpayers dollars on an unviable project at a time when we can least afford it," Senator Minchin said in a statement.

The inquiry is needed because Labor refuses to do any due diligence on its planned $43-billion National Broadband Network, Opposition Communications Minister Nick Minchin said.

He wants the Productivity Commission to investigate if there's any evidence of market failure in Australia and then recommend the most cost-effective solutions.

But Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy has asked why a Productivity Commission led inquiry was not needed prior to the previous government's broadband plans.

"The question should be asked, did the Liberal Party conduct any Productivity Commission analysis of any of their 18 failed broadband plans, or OPEL?" said Conroy in a statement.

Earlier this month, Conroy rejected Minchin's calls for the government to subject its latest plan to a cost-benefit analysis.

"We don't need any more studies, any more cost-benefit analysis to know this is an infrastructure investment Australia is calling out for," he told parliament.

Conroy has however welcomed research published by Access Economics and sponsored by IBM detailing the likely benefits the NBN would have for Australia.

"This research highlights the key economic benefits of investing in the National Broadband Network, including the expected creation of at least 33,000 jobs by 2011," Conroy said in a statement.

ZDNet.com.au's Liam Tung contributed to this story.

AAP