The Federal Opposition hit back at the Government this week with its own plan for a national broadband network, but there’s a bit of an issue: it’s incredibly vague and cross-bench MPs like Rob Oakeshott are warning it might not save that much dough in the end.
The Coalition’s plan for broadband was included in its Real Solutions manifesto issued over the Australia Day weekend. Within the 27-page document, only a few words are said about broadband:
Delivering more affordable broadband — rolling it out faster
• The Coalition will deliver high speed broadband that is both affordable for families and businesses and cost effective for taxpayers
• We will for the first time do a fully transparent cost-benefit analysis of the National Broadband Network, to find out the quickest and most cost-efficient way to upgrade broadband to all areas where services are now unavailable or sub- standard. This is the cost-benefit analysis Labor didn’t do before committing to spend tens of billions of dollars on the NBN.
• We will roll out super-fast broadband using whichever is the most effective and cost efficient technology and we will use existing infrastructure where we can.
• We will roll it out faster to high priority areas.
• We will end billions of dollars of wasteful spending on the NBN and deliver more of the modern infrastructure we urgently need while encouraging competition wherever possible to put downward pressure on prices.
There are a lot of unanswered questions here that we hope to have cleared up in the road to the election in September.
No matter how vague, some are warning it might not save that much at all. Independent MP Rob Oakeshott has warned that it might only save $5 billion on the $37.4 billion build cost estimated by the National Broadband Network Company.
Meanwhile, our thoughts go out to those affected by the Queensland floods this week. Telcos and the NBN Co are still fighting to get services back to the area. Stay safe, folks.