Opposition criticizes government's broadband secrecy

Plenty of money but little detail

Shadow communications minister Bruce Billson today called on the government to provide more detail on its $8 billion Fibre-to-the-Node (FttN) network.

The government is committing $4.7 billion to the network which will be built as joint venture with industry.

Billson said the only reliable information on the government's FttN plans was the $4.7 billion commitment of public funds.

"It is deeply disturbing that the Minister remains unable to provide any additional clarity whatsoever on Labor's city-centric fibre proposal, yet it is crystal clear that taxpayers will be forking out $4.7 billion for whatever it is," Billson said.

"Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's broadband muddle sees him talking about FttN one minute, then the possibility of Fibre-to-the-Home [FttH] the next."

The opposition minister said Conroy has back-flipped on his hard-line stance that any national network will be open-access by stating he has "an open mind" towards how the network will be built and funded.

Debate has raged between industry and government over the network's access models, pricing, and speed, which are yet to be defined.

Telstra proposed a $4.5 billion FttN network with speeds up to 100Mbps, deployable to 4 million urban homes within 3.5 years.

Speaking in a Senate Estimates meeting last week, Conroy said the government has defined the network specifications, not the final "shape".

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