Minchin: 2008 a year of broadband stagnation

There was lots of talk by Stephen Conroy in 2008 but no firm broadband policy was delivered, says Nick Minchin.

Instead of having a high speed national broadband structure in place, Australia will enter the new year with confusion and further delays in realising its broadband dream. That’s shadow communications minister Nick Minchin's assessment of Senator Stephen Conroy’s 2008 efforts on delivering broadband to the people.

“Despite all the broadband hype, rhetoric and big promises from Labor when in Opposition, 2008 will be remembered as a year of wasted opportunity; a year of stagnation and uncertainty, as a direct result of the Rudd Government’s bungled handling of broadband policy,” Minchin said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The Rudd Labor Government enters 2009 having delivered absolutely nothing in relation to high-speed broadband, with confusion, the prospect of further lengthy delays and legal risks hanging over its troubled National Broadband Network (NBN) tender,” Senator Minchin said.

Minchin also attacked Conroy over his decision to exclude Telstra from the tender process.

“To plug any new fibre network into Australian homes and businesses, the reality is Telstra’s ‘last mile’ copper will almost certainly have to be utilised in what would be a huge, complex and unprecedented undertaking.

“Considering the rapid deterioration in relations between the Rudd Government and Australia’s biggest telco, it is difficult to see how the crucial issue of network connectivity could be resolved, without potentially reckless action from a politically desperate government,” he said.

According to Minchin, this action would most likely result in further delays and heighten the Commonwealth’s exposure to legal risks and massive compensation claims.

No doubt it will make for an interesting 2009.

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