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WA Govt bins $1bn broadband network

The Western Australian Government has decided to bin its plan to roll out a statewide broadband network.
Written by Suzanne Tindal, Contributor

The Western Australian Government has decided to bin its $1 billion plan to roll out a statewide broadband network.


(Road sign in the middle of the bush image by charlene, CC2.0)

The government broke the news in an industry briefing this week, saying that the project was not viable.

A spokesperson for WA Treasurer and Minister for Science and Innovation Troy Buswell said that although the government had called back in 2007 for parties to register their interest in building the network, the majority of those submissions indicated that the size of the state's agency market was insufficient to warrant a significant investment in regional telecommunications.

Even the former government for the state had acknowledged that the network was "not tenable", the spokesperson said.

After the situation was complicated additionally by the National Broadband Network (NBN), the government made the decision that the strategy had to be scrapped.

"The state's new strategy is currently being developed and will be contingent on the outcome of the NBN, to avoid duplication and waste of state resources," the spokesperson said.

Despite the spokesperson for Buswell saying that the opposition had previously admitted the network was untenable, Shadow Minister for science and innovation Kate Doust did not greet the decision with equanimity.

"Without the statewide broadband network we will inhibit and delay the delivery of important skills training, education and health services which could benefit significantly through improved broadband services," Doust said in a statement.

Doust said the statewide broadband network was also developed to complement the Federal Government's broadband initiatives.

"Western Australia could have led the nation and now WA's access will remain well below the standard," she said.

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