[smh] Labor's planned national broadband network (NBN) Australia will mean the difference between an information superhighway and an information "goat track", federal Assistant Treasurer Nick Sherry says.
Broadband is the infrastructure of the 21st century information age, Senator Sherry says.
"You can either do it properly, if you believe in it, or scrape together an alternative that won't deliver globally comparable speeds," he said in an address to the Australian Insurance Summit in Sydney on Friday.
The government's $43 billion NBN will be able to provide speeds of one gigabit per second, 10 times faster than originally envisaged, it was revealed on Thursday.
But the opposition's $6 billion alternative broadband plan can only promise 12 megabits per second.
The NBN would be beneficial to an industry like insurance, Senator Sherry said.
"The insurance industry would be very aware of the different impacts on 21st century service industries of having either an information superhighway or an information goat track," he said.
"As you seek to export your services, as you seek to move so much more of your retail trading of insurance products online, as you move more of your claims assessment and risk management online - all heavily reliant on fast internet speeds."
Senator Sherry said the insurance sector was an important contributor to the economy and in many ways reflected Labor's own approach to risk and financial management.
"What I mean by that is, you take a prudent approach to assessing risk and you do that based particularly on long-term planning.
"We do very much the same."
Labor warns of problems without NBN