The main point of contention at the centre of the Coalition's broadband strategy is the condition and longevity of the Telstra copper network. A few years ago it was referred to as "minutes to midnight", but now the head of the telco has boldly stepped out claiming that it's good for another century.
Thodey told journalists yesterday afternoon that he had faith in the ongoing quality of the copper:
"The copper has been going well for a hundred years. I think it will keep going for another hundred. It’s perfectly OK. There is some copper that is a lot older than others, but copper does not decompose."
The Coalition's strategy revolves around using the fibre to the node technology, where fibre-connected nodes will be hooked up to the existing copper network and used to deliver internet connectivity over the last mile to most of the country.
Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull maintains that those in brownfields (existing) homes and businesses who want the fibre to the home service can pay for it out of their own pocket, as the Coalition rolls fibre out to specific business parks and educational institutions.
It's worth noting however that the Coalition strategy does involve rolling fibre to the home out to greenfields developments, and replacing copper wires in brownfields sites only when they have failed. The current government's policy involves running fibre to the home to millions of homes around the country. [AFR]
Copper image via Shutterstock