Monday, August 02, 2010

Australia - Opposition parties face business opposition to cutting the national broadband plan

[it wire] The Coalition faces a significant business community backlash if it fails to deliver a broadband plan for Australia that at least matches the Government's existing National Broadband Network initiative, according to the internet sector’s peak industry body.

The Internet Industry Association says the argument that the $43 billion NBN plan was not "economically prudent" – which the Opposition has put forward under Leader Tony Abbott – was "irresponsible" and would rob the nation of critical new infrastructure.

The Coalition has not yet announced any details of its alternative broadband plan, saying only that it will put forward a better plan that will cost less later in the campaign.

It has said previously that while it would honour any existing contracts already entered as part of the NBN, it would halt the national roll-out of fibre to the home through the NBN Company.

IIA executive director Peter Coroneos said the association wants to see a consensus between the major parties on roll-out of ubiquitous fibre to the home, and that if the Coalition wants to differentiate itself, it should aim to out-do the Government by offering speeds in excess of 100Mbps.

"We fully appreciate the need for an opposition to distinguish themselves through different policies," Coroneos told iTWire.

"But on this policy we will say that it is of such significance to our national development and to our economic development that we remain very disappointed that they won’t support universal fibre access to the premises," he said.

"It is misguided to be attacking the policy on the basis of more prudent economic management. The truth of the matter is that the most irresponsible thing that we could do economically is to rob ourselves of the opportunity of rolling out infrastructure that it going to transform the economy."

"The question is not is it economically responsible to support the NBN, it is more that it is economically irresponsible to deny the nation the advantages of what the NBN will bring. And that is acknowledged by the whole industry," Coroneos said.

Election 2010: Halting NBN 'economically irresponsible'

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