Coalition’s “user pays” approach to broadband is bad news for the Illawarra

Federal Member for Cunningham, Sharon Bird and Federal Member for Throsby, Stephen Jones today slammed the Coalition’s “user-pays” plan for the rollout of broadband.

“While Stephen and I have been busy sharing the great news of the construction of the National Broadband Network in suburbs across the Illawarra, the Coalition is working on a second rate plan that will mean users pay more and get less,” Sharon Bird said.

At a Kickstart event on the Sunshine Coast, Coalition Communications spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull has said that his party favoured a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) approach that would use existing copper phone lines between the street and the home or business.

He also confirmed that to get fibre to the home, homes and businesses would have to pay a premium to upgrade under the Coalition’s broadband plan.

“The Coalition’s so-called plan for broadband is clearly second-rate,” Stephen Jones said.

“This is a bit rich coming from an MP whose electorate of Wentworth in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs - which would currently have the best broadband service in Australia - to be arguing that regions like the Illawarra should pay a premium for an inferior service doesn’t go down too well,” Mr Jones said.

“Here in the Illawarra we know that within around twelve months, construction of the NBN in Corrimal, Bellambi, Tarrawanna, Russell Vale and Horsley will be completed – as will the suburbs where construction has already started, such as Wollongong and Dapto,” Sharon Bird said.

Under Labor’s plan, a standard NBN connection to the home or office is free – and NBN retail services are available for similar prices to what people are paying now, but for a much superior service.

“Only under Labor will all Australians get the fast, affordable broadband future they need, “Stephen Jones said. 

“Only this Labor Government has a plan to build infrastructure for the 21st century that will allow our country to compete globally, as well as creating the jobs and opportunities that will keep our economy strong,” he said.

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