Libs to deny Conroy $2B broadband pool

Coalition locks down Communications Fund.

The government's fibre broadband purse could be $2 billion lighter following a coalition announcement that it will oppose legislation to pool the Communications Fund into the national broadband network coffers.

A communications bill will be voted in the Senate within the next two sittings that would provide a potential $2 billion contribution to the joint-funded Fibre-to-the-Node (FttN) network.

The bill would effectively reverse former government amendments to the Telecommunications Act, which prevented Labor from using the fund as part of its $4.7 billion commitment to a FttN network.

Shadow communications minister Bruce Billson said the bill will stymie the broadband initiatives undertaken by remote communities which the provision funds.

"The Communications Fund is money in the bank and insurance for regional Australians that they won't be left behind by a digital divide.

"There is no single infrastructure project that will provide for service disadvantage forever, which is why the funds are needed to deal with the problem over time.

"The funding is there for regional Australians. There is a budget surplus which could be used [to fund the FttN network] instead."

He said the government has poured its energy into the national FttN network and is undermining its research into regional broadband solutions by reappropriating the Communications Fund.

Funds can be claimed by individuals, ISPs and community groups for expensive satellite connections, infrastructure builds, and supply of rural broadband at metro prices.

Billson said communities have pooled subsidies together to build out infrastructure including rural WiMAX networks.

The government can use $400 million in interest generated by the Communications Fund for non-regional initiatives.

Telecommunications analyst Paul Budde said the fibre network is a legitimate candidate for the funds.

"It is the job of the government to invest in national infrastructure like schools and roads, and fibre is no exception," Budde said.

"Many of these schemes were made to appease the market after the privatisation of Telstra. The government missed it's chance [for the structural separation of Telstra]."

Let us know your thoughts on the NBN in this week's Vent It: Is the Govt rushing the NBN build?

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Darren Pauli

Computerworld

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?