Shadow Communications Minister Tony Smith today announced the Liberals broadband policy. Or rather spent almost an hour telling the media that should they be elected, the Libs won’t actually be doing anything to provide a national broadband infrastructure to take the country future.
The Liberals broadband policy consists of spending $6.315 billion over seven years, with $750 million earmarked for grants to incentivise the private sector to jump on board. Rather than promise a high bandwidth, high speed network, their policy promises a base speed of 12Mbps for 97 per cent of the country, with some people potentially getting speeds up to 100Mbps.
The announcement itself was a bit shy on details. They promised they would update the backhaul with fibre in areas that needed it and expand satellite coverage for rural areas, but for the most part they spent most of their time lambasting Labor for promising to spend $43 billion of taxpayers money on a “white elephant”.
We’re waiting for the policy to be uploaded to the Liberals’ policy website – it’s kind of telling that an hour after the announcement began, the broadband policy still hasn’t been shared online. Once we’ve got our hands on the actual policy document, we’ll offer a more thorough analysis. But from the announcement this morning, the Liberals have offered those of us hoping for faster broadband absolutely nothing.
UPDATE: The policy is now online. You can download the PDF yourself here. Reading through it, the entire policy seems to be as empty of technical detail as the press conference. Essentially the Liberals are rehashing their old OPEL broadband plan to offer a basic 12Mbps everywhere and if you happen to live in an area that the telco’s feel will make them money, you might get speeds up to 100Mbps.