Aust opposition offers low-price NBN alternative

Liam Tung & Michael Carroll
11 Aug 2010

Australia’s opposition party would scrap the government’s planned A$43 billion ($56.7b) FTTH network in favor of a much cheaper option with similar coverage but lower speeds.

The plan, issued just ten days before the national election, with the two major parties neck and neck, has met with a critical reception from industry groups and analysts.

The Liberal-National coalition would spend just A$6.3 billion on a high-speed broadband network that would cover 97% of the country’s population with a minimum 12Mbps connection speed, using a mix of fiber, wireless networks, and upgraded DSL lines.

The Labor government proposes rolling out a 100Mbps fiber service to 93% of the population, with the remainder covered by a 12Mbps network.

The coalition would use A$2.75 billion of public money to construct the fiber backhaul it would seek up to A$750 million in private funding, The Australian reports.

The private investment would be enough to cover the upgrades to current DSL exchanges to ADSL2+, and the party would pump a further A$1 billion into constructing wireless networks to cover metropolitan and rural areas.

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