Leader of The Nationals in the Senate, Ron Boswell, said today that regional Queenslanders would be highly sceptical of Labor communications spokesman, Stephen Conroy, and his claim that Labor’s sketchy cable broadband proposal would cover the people of Birdsville in Western Queensland.
“If Senator Conroy’s Labor Party had a proper broadband plan for regional and remote areas, as the Coalition does, then they would release the maps to prove it, and release the accompanying technical details which have been so lacking on the Labor side of this vitally important debate.
“Like so many other issues in this election so far, Labor are big on talk and short on detail when it comes to broadband and regional telecommunications.
“The Coalition’s investigations tell us that Labor’s proposal will only reach 75% of Australia’s population in the cities and major centres. One in four Australians or 3 million people will miss out, so how can it reach remote communities like Birdsville, and how will it reach the people who live outside of townships?
“People need to see lines on maps and the technical details to back a claim like this. Until then, remote Australians from Birdsville to Bedourie to Richmond and in all remote areas would be unlikely to believe a Labor Party that has shown little or no interest in them or their needs for decades.
Senator Boswell reminded remote Queenslanders that Labor had committed to destroying the $2 billion fund set up by The Nationals to provide an ongoing revenue stream of around $400 million every three years to pay for telecommunications upgrades in remote areas that were not market viable and were unlikely to become so.
“The Coalition’s broadband plan will extend high speed broadband to 99 percent of the population via a new state-of-the-art WiMAX, ADSL2+ and fibre broadband network and will provide a $2750 2-way satellite broadband subsidy for the remaining one percent,” Senator Boswell said.
Under the Coalition, regional Australians, and indeed metropolitan Australians, will get access to speeds of 12 megabit per second which is 40 times faster than what most people use today. You will be paying between $35 and $60 per month for this service. Under the Coalition, high speed broadband will be extended to 99% of the population.
“In contrast, Labor’s plan will waste $4.7 billion of taxpayer resources because private industry is already going to provide fibre-to-the-node in the cities. They have put all eggs in one basket, backing a single technology which only works if you are living within 1.5kms of either an exchange or telephone junction box.
“To build any credibility with regional and remote Australians, Labor need to recognise that they are not gullible, are not second-class, and that they understand and require real, verified details before they will consider supporting a Labor Party that has traditionally ignored regional and remote Australia.
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