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Clare expects NBN to move to G.Fast FttDP

Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare has admitted that even if Labor wins the next election, he will not be able to return the NBN to how it was when Labor lost power.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The company responsible for rolling out the National Broadband Network across Australia will move from its current fibre-to-the-node rollout to one that uses fibre-to-the-curb or fibre-to-the-distribution-point, Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare said.

Speaking at Commsday Melbourne Congress, Clare said he expects NBN Co to bring fibre "to the driveway", leaving just the lead-ins in place.

"NBN has also recently revealed that they are about to trial G.Fast in the lab," he said. "I think it is likely that sometime between now and the next election the new Minister will announce that NBN will be rolling out fibre-to-the-curb -- using G.Fast."

"It will be evidence that Labor was right and Malcolm Turnbull was wrong."

In his speech, Clare also admitted that should Labor return to power at the next election, it will be impossible to return the NBN to the approach used before the Coalition won government in 2013.

"I can't fix the mess this government has made with the flick of a switch or pull out every node or stop all the work NBN is currently doing without potentially causing more problems and wasting a lot of sunk investment," Clare said.

"If anyone thinks I can just click my fingers the day after the election and we can go back to the way it was they will be disappointed."

Although he would not reveal Labor's NBN plans that they would take to the next election, Clare promised to deliver more fibre than the government.

"Fibre to-the-node will be gone. It's not a question of if this will happen. It's when it will happen and how it will be done," he said.

"If you vote for the Labor party at the next election you will be voting for more fibre. For more details you will have to wait until a bit closer to the next election."

Clare now Labor's lone Communications gunman

Yesterday afternoon, Labor leader Bill Shorten took the wraps off the shadow ministry he intends to take to the next election.

Among the changes, Clare has lost his assistant minister, as Michelle Rowland was moved into shadow cabinet as the Shadow Minister for Small Business, as well as continuing her other role as Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism.

Communications will still be represented in the Senate by its former Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy.

Labor's move mirrors that of the government, which left Senator Mitch Fifield as its sole spokesperson in the portfolio when Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister.

Former Parliamentary Secretary for Broadband, Ed Husic, will take on the role of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Digital Innovation and Startups in addition to his Treasury portfolio responsibilities.

"It's deeply concerning that the rate of startup formation in Australia is low compared to some of our competitors," Husic said in a statement. "Government actions can help support the emergence of a stronger startup ecosystem -- something that will help generate the jobs of the future."

Labor announced a AU$17.8 million startup initiative last month, that would create two new visa classes for international entrepreneurs, and create loans for 2,000 students a year to partake in a 'Startup Year' whilst at university.

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