9 August 2006
Conroy misses the point on broadband in Australia
Labor’s communications spokesman, Senator Stephen Conroy, is playing with the truth in an attempt to deflect attention away from the fact that Labor’s plan for broadband in Australia is in tatters.
Senator Conroy has completely misrepresented comments I made yesterday in relation to broadband services in Australia.
My comments were in relation to broadband speeds available in inner metropolitan areas of many of Australia’s capital cities. These are the very areas that would have benefited from any rollout by Telstra of a fibre-to-the-node network.
The breakdown of talks on the fibre network, while disappointing, is not the end of the world for metropolitan consumers - many of whom can already enjoy broadband speeds in excess of 15 megabits per second in metropolitan areas if they choose.
In responding to comments that without a fibre network, Australia would lag behind in the broadband stakes I said that people living in metropolitan areas can already access fast broadband speeds of between 12 and 18 megabits per second - if they can access ADSL 2+ or cable networks.
The Government is working in both outer metropolitan areas and rural, regional and remote areas to ensure these fast speeds are available to all Australians.
Around 80 per cent of Australian households and small businesses can already access ADSL broadband services of up to 1.5 mbps.
This number is growing exponentially as carriers enable more and more exchanges with the backing of the Australian Government’s $878 million Broadband Connect funding and our $50 million Metropolitan Broadband Connect program.
Painting a bleak picture of Internet speeds in Australia is misleading. Around four million Australians have already connected to broadband – hardly an indictment on the state of broadband in Australia.
I urge any Australians who believe they cannot access broadband services in Australia to visit the Government’s telecommunications website – www.telinfo.gov.au – to check their eligibility for broadband under either the Broadband Connect or Metro Broadband Connect programs.
If an ADSL, cable or wireless service is not available then all Australians – regardless of where they live – can access a satellite broadband service.