Coalition broadband policy 'lacking,' says analyst

Budde criticises the lack of vision in federal opposition's broadband plan

Telecommunications analyst Paul Budde has labelled the Coalition's broadband policy as "shockingly bad" in a media statement.

Budde said the federal opposition's proposed $6 billion policy was similar to "having many parts of a car spread out on the floor but no plan on how to get it all together." During the Howard Government "the Coalition had 12 plans over a period of 11 years and as a result we ended up at the bottom of the international broadband ladder. It looks like that the current plan will simply bring us back to 2007."

The Coalition's broadband policy was introduced yesterday by Shadow Communications Minister Tony Smith and finance spokesperson Andrew Robb. It aims to build a $2.75 billion fibre backhaul network, as well as upgrade current wireless and satellite services by 2016, and promises minimum speeds of 12 megabits per second for 97 per cent of the Australian population.

Budde said that the Coalition's plans to utilise FTTN (fibre to the node) infrastructure is inferior compared to Labor's proposed National Broadband Network (NBN) which promises FTTH (fibre to the home).

"Telstra will be put in charge again of the telecoms policies for this country. That would basically mean back to a FTTN plan that everybody else in the world is now rejecting," said Budde. "Yes, current old technologies can be used as a bridge to the future, but as everybody else in the world acknowledges the future is FTTH. That is the reality and who is going to invest in old technologies if there is no vision and no strategy regarding the end game?"

Budde also said that the Coalition has not acknowledged the benefits of a fibre-optic network for the e-health and education sectors. "If the OECD, the World Bank, the UN, the Obama Government, the European Union and many others are all talking about the enormous economic benefits of a trans-sector vision regarding broadband as national infrastructure why does the Opposition believe that this is not a good idea for Australia?"

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