by Byron Connolly

Labor promises to dump fibre-to-the-node

Jun 14, 2016
BroadbandGovernmentTechnology Industry

Labor has promised that it would roll out fibre-to-the-premises to up to two million additional homes and businesses, and phase out the government’s fibre-to-the-node NBN under a broadband policy announced on Monday.

A Shorten Labor government also said it would cap the total funding for the NBN at $57 billion and attacked the government’s “second rate copper NBN” which is now costing up to $56 billion.

“Construction of fibre-to-the-node will cease when the current pipeline of construction work is completed and design and construction of fibre-to-the-premises is scaled back up,” Labor said in a statement.

Labor said it would also commission Infrastructure Australia, with input from relevant experts, to develop a plan that outlines how and when parts of Australia should be transitioned to fibre-to-the-premises.

This plan would be commissioned in the first term of a Labor government if it wins the election on July 2.

Labor has also promised that it would complete the initial rollout of the NBN by 30 June 2022.

Internet Australia, a peak body representing Internet users, on Monday said it supported the return to a focus on the use of fibre in the NBN.

CEO, Laurie Patton, said ageing copper wires will deliver an inferior service, which will not be fit for purpose even before the rollout has been completed.

“There is a limit to how much faster we can make the copper go; whereas those with fibre connections will experience significant speed gains in coming years,” he said.

Internet Australia is also supporting Labor’s proposal for a review of the NBN rollout.

“With so much confusion, claims and counterclaims, it makes sense to have an independent expert authority run its eye over things. We look forward to an opportunity to provide our expertise and that of our members if this occurs,” Patton said.

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