21 March 2011 The Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband Malcolm Turnbull was the key speaker at a forum in Samford on Thursday night to discuss the proposed National Broadband Network (NBN) and wider communications issues.
The forum, organised by the Member for Dickson Peter Dutton and LNP candidates for Ferny Grove and Everton, Dale Shuttleworth and Tim Mander allowed local residents the opportunity to understand the implications of the proposed NBN and find answers to their concerns.
“No one is against faster broadband. The Coalition remains committed to the policy objective of providing all Australians with high-quality affordable broadband, regardless of where they live.
“There is probably no Gillard government policy more inexcusably or needlessly reckless than the construction of the national broadband network,” Mr Turnbull said.
The NBN is the largest public works project in Australia’s history and yet the Government has already rejected calls for it to be subject to a cost-benefit analysis. The Government has attempted to prevent parliamentary scrutiny and oversight of the NBN at every turn, even though taxpayers are funding the entire project.
Residents concerns included the cost to taxpayers and consumers, the time taken to rollout the program and the need for 100 megabits.
“There is no evidence whatsoever that the massive increase in speeds delivered by fibre-the-home will deliver any extra value or benefit to Australian households. Labor’s NBN is the least cost effective policy.
“The only thing that can be said for sure is that a national fibre to the home network, overbuilding and decommissioning our entire national fixed line customer access network, is by far the most expensive solution imaginable.” Mr Turnbull said
Mr Turnbull discussed the alternatives that cost nowhere near the $50 billion Labor will gamble on the network.
Residents also voiced their disappointment in the Government for cancelling the Howard Government’s contract with the OPEL consortium to deliver a broadband network in outer suburban and rural and remote Australia by 2009. Had this contract proceeded, hundreds of thousands of homes would now be receiving broadband services – instead many now face a long wait before services are available under Labor’s NBN.
The Coalition’s plan will deliver a uniform national broadband network, under which 97 percent of premises are able to be served by high speed networks capable of delivering from 100Mbps down to a minimum of 12 Mbps peak speed, using a combination of technologies including HFC, DSL and fixed wireless.
Instead of creating a new, inefficient Government run monopoly, the Coalition will create a vibrant, private sector-based broadband market, with Government involved to encourage competition and ensure services reach all Australians.