Posted April 02, 2019 08:07:08 The Government is pushing for a $2 billion upgrade of the national broadband network, in an attempt to stop the NBN rolling out over-the-top, and in an effort to increase competition in the NBN market.
The Government’s broadband policy paper published this week is set to be the biggest budget of the decade.
Key points:The plan, which would cost about $2.5 billion, would upgrade the NBN to include high-speed broadband services.
The upgrade would require an extra 5,500 kilometres of copper wire in Sydney and Melbourne.
“The Government’s vision for the future of the NBN includes a strong and innovative national broadband service that meets the needs of Australians, while offering the best choice for Australians and the best value for taxpayers,” Mr Turnbull said.
The paper also contains a range of recommendations on the NBN.
The Government said the upgrade was needed to “protect the quality of the internet, deliver better service and enable a level playing field in the market” and “to increase competition”.
The proposal was initially touted by the Prime Minister’s Office as a “once-in-a-generation” upgrade of fibre-to-the‑premises.
But it has been criticised by the Communications Alliance, which has warned the Government it would not be able to deliver the upgrade.
“It will be too expensive, it will be not affordable, and it will fail to meet the aspirations of the Australian people for a national broadband and digital infrastructure,” the organisation’s chief executive Greg Combet said.
“We will have to wait to see what is the cost of this upgrade, but the cost is significant.”
Mr Combet added the Government’s NBN policy paper contained no detail about what would happen if the upgrade did not go ahead.
“This policy paper is a very vague description of what will happen if we don’t do the upgrade,” he said.
The plan would upgrade to fibre-optic infrastructure, a network that uses cables instead of optical fibre.
The proposal would also involve installing new copper poles and installing more than a million more meters of copper wires in Sydney, Melbourne and regional areas.
It would also upgrade some existing copper infrastructure.
The plan has also been criticised because it does not cover the state of the telecommunications infrastructure, including the NBN, which is currently under construction.
“To date, the Government has delivered about 1,600km of fibre to the premises network, but there are a number of other projects that will need to be completed to deliver a high-capacity fibre-based network,” Mr Combet told ABC Radio Hobart.
“I think the Government needs to be clear that there is a critical need to build a high capacity network to provide a viable national broadband infrastructure and it needs to start now.”
Labor leader Bill Shorten said the proposal was “staggering”.
“It’s a total waste of taxpayers money,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Sydney.
“There’s no justification for such an enormous expenditure.”
You have a major undertaking that doesn’t include even the basic infrastructure.
“This is a government that has been running up a huge budget deficit for years.””
It doesn’t even make sense to go ahead and invest money in an area that’s already in deficit,” Mr Smith said.
“This is a government that has been running up a huge budget deficit for years.”
If the Government wants to get serious about this, it needs a plan, it must start planning now.
“And then, when they get through with it, the rest of the country will be on board.”
The Coalition’s plan for the national network has been labelled “insulting” by the Opposition, who have slammed the Government for failing to deliver on its promise to build the NBN faster than Labor, which led to the Coalition losing the election.
“How can we begrudge the Prime Ministers success in building the NBN in the middle of a budget deficit, and then have this Government’s own plan come out of it?”
Liberal MP Josh Frydenberg told reporters.
“But then how can we look the other way when the Government claims to be investing in our future?”
Mr Frydenber said it could be argued that Mr Turnbull was “bouncing around” a plan that could cost more than $2billion.
“He needs to do the job, he needs to deliver what he promised, and that is to invest in the future,” he added.