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How Fast Will The Coalition Broadband Network Be?

Malcolm Turnbull paid ABC’s 7:30 a visit yesterday to talk about the Coalition’s broadband plan, and at this stage, I think there is more information in the public domain about the iPhone 6 than there is the Coalition’s broadband plan. Nevertheless between all the government bashing-this and the too expensive and slow-that, Turnbull got down to telling us actual numbers for how fast the Coalition’s own broadband network would be. So what’s the magic number?

Turnbull has previously said that the Coalition’s national broadband alternative will be fast enough for “most” users. Let that horrible feeling wash over you before you read just how fast Turnbull is promising. The story so far is that Turnbull is proposing a plan that would see fibre deployed to street cabinets (or nodes) all over the country, with connections to houses to be delivered via the old copper network. Here’s how fast it’s going to go:

…Fibre to the cabinet will deliver for most of its customers in those areas in less than 1,000 metres speeds of between 25 megabits per second for the people that are the furthest away, for most people speeds of 50 or better and for a third, 80 megabits per second.

Let’s compare that to the Labor NBN plan. Stephen Conroy and NBN Co are promising 100Mbps speeds for every home connected to the fibre network, with a view to upgrade those speeds to 1000Mbps (1Gbps) later on. So, 25Mbps broadband proposed in 2012 compared to a 100Mbps-minimum network that’s been underway for a few years already.

Malcolm, you’re going the wrong way

Later on in the interview, after some more top-notch government bashing, Malcolm does hit on an interesting point. The NBN is going to take a long time to build. It’s already rolling out, sure, but it’s got over a decade to go. Turnbull is promising that the speed of the Coalition’s broadband roll-out would be faster and cheaper:

Well what we would have if we take out approach, we will be able to deliver very fast broadband much sooner, much cheaper and more affordably.

Getting fast broadband quickly is all well and good, but do we want a job done quickly or do we want it done right?

Which plan do you prefer? [7:30]


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