Bill Shorten has announced two million more Australians would get fibre-to-the-premises broadband under a Labor government, and claimed he could get it done for the same amount as the government's current copper plans.
Shorten and his shadow communications minister Jason Clare announced the policy on Monday, claiming almost 40 percent of Australian homes and businesses would receive the better quality FTTP internet under the National Broadband Network. Labor claim just 20 percent of homes and businesses would get FTTP under the Liberal government's plans, which lean more heavily on fibre-to-the-node technology, also referred to as copper NBN as it uses existing copper telecommunications cabling.
"The Liberals have doubled the cost of their second rate NBN up to $56 billion. A Shorten Labor Government will cap the total funding for the NBN at $57 billion," Shorten said.
"Labor will spend exactly the same amount of public funding on the NBN as the Liberals. There will be no impact on the budget from this announcement. The public equity contribution will be the same regardless of who wins the election. The difference is that up to two million more Australians will get a Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN under Labor."
Shorten said "you can't have an innovation boom while you are still buffering", and Labor soon released this cheeky video to illustrate the point.
While NBN Co talks up the quality of FTTN or copper networks, FTTP is generally accepted as the faster and more reliable system. The NBN has been criticised for cost blowouts and significant rollout delays, as Shorten and Clare both pointed out.
"It's a mess. It's a mess. And the worst part of this is that at the end of the day when it's all said and done what he's building is a network that's not going to set us up for the jobs of the future," Clare said in Sydney, as he announced the commitment.
For more on Labor's NBN policy, click here.