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SECTIONS / WIRELESS & NETWORKING

Labor Slashes NBN Budget 1.5 Million Homes Could Miss Out

By David Richards | Wednesday | 15/05/2013

1.5 million homes that were scheduled to get fast fibre broadband by 2015 will now miss out after Labor slashed $3.5 Billion out of their NBN budget.

The cuts come as Samsung successfully demonstrates super-fast 5G wireless technology that allows users to download an entire movie to a mobile device at speeds of one gigabit per second. The test was conducted over a two kilometre distance.

Malcolm Turnbull, the Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband, claims that Labors cuts to the NBN budget "is an admission the project is failing".

He said that investment in the project has been slashed, and as a result well over a million premises will not get NBN by the dates promised.

He claims that last night's Budget reveals Labor has cut its planned equity investment in the NBN between this financial year and 2014-15 by $3.5 billion, or 20 percent.

"The gutting of the NBN's funding is a clear admission it is disastrously behind the schedule unveiled by Stephen Conroy and Julia Gillard only nine months ago, in August 2012," he said.

He claims that on 19 April, CEO Michael Quigley told a Parliamentary committee NBN Co was running fibre past established homes and businesses at a cost of about $2300 per premise. "If Mr Quigley's figure is accurate, the huge reduction in investment means 1.5 million premises scheduled to receive the NBN by June 2016 will not have it by this date". he added.

He claims that the Labor Government must come clean today on which Australians expecting the NBN will miss out:

 "With the 1.5 million premises which will not now get the NBN on the promised timetable be residents of Wayne Swan's seat of Lilley, Stephen Smith's seat of Perth, Craig Emerson's seat of Rankin, and Kate Ellis' seat of Adelaide?" he queries.

Turnbull claims that Julia Gillard must level with the Australian people, and provide an open and honest account of who will be affected by NBN Co's latest massive fail - a colossal shortfall in its construction rollout now recognised by the Budget cutbacks.

"Last night's figures confirm precisely what the Coalition has said for the past four years: The Labor NBN is unaffordable within the currently claimed budget and undeliverable on the currently claimed schedule. After almost six years, barely 20,000 premises are connected to the NBN fibre network, while 2 million households and businesses still can't obtain fixed broadband at a speed capable of viewing a YouTube video".

The data below compares investment in NBN Co projected in MYEFO and the 2013-14 Budget:

MYEFO Budget Change

2012-13 $4.7b $2.6b -$2.1b

2013-14 $6.1b $5.1b -$1.0b

2014-15 $6.7b $6.3b -$0.4b

2015-16 $4.8b $5.3b +$0.5b

The (NBN) will deliver speeds of up to 1Gbps when completed. These are similar speeds to what Samsung is demonstrating on a 5G Network which could be available in Australia within four years.

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