Turnbull Attacks NBN, Promises ‘Plan B’

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The election is looming and Malcolm Turnbull is making sure the Coalition is seen as broadband friendly as rival Labor.

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To this end, he released a broadband survey today, which probes the speed of Australia’s broadband services.

“We want every Australian to have faster broadband sooner and more affordably,” Turnbull’s press release proudly declared as the Sydney East MP reiterated his critique of Labor’s $38bn NBN as “absolutely woeful” on ABC radio today.

Many suburbs and towns are “inadequately served by existing fixed line and mobile broadband,” he says, but warned “Labor’s NBN is not the answer.”

Turnbull attacked the NBN Co’s target of 511,000 households hooked up to the fibre network by June 2013, which is now just 54,000, something which NBN Co highlighted in its Corporate Plan earlier this year.

He also claims “thousands” of people living in new greenfield developments have no broadband connections and says industry experts believe the NBN is more likely to be completed in 20 years rather than the forecasted 10.

The Coalition has a far better broadband plan, the Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband declared, and will deliver it sooner, cheaper and better, and will even get market forces involved.

However, one problem.

The NBN alternative is not yet been costed, Turnbull admits, blaming the secretive nature of NBN Co and lack of information about the contracts it has already signed off on.

“Our policy will be costed” Turnbull told ABC AM, but added, “we are not in a position to provide an alternative to NBN Corporate Plan.”

“The approach we will take in built up areas is fibre to the node as it takes around one third of the time of fibre to the premises,” and would be completed “according to need rather than politics.”

So, what is the Coalition’s NBN Plan B timeframe?

“A lot sooner” than NBN’s, however, the shadow minister failed to give a more exact timeframe.

Despite the clear disdain Turnbull holds for the NBN, he says he supports the policy, in principle.

“We actually support the objective of the National Broadband Network [and] what we’re seeking to do is make it better targeted, make it more cost-effective and deliver it sooner.”t-track upgrades to areas lacking broadband connection and roll out the NBN.”

The survey is available at www.fasterbroadband.com.au

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