Australian opposition coalition spells out broadband proposal

Australia's opposition coalition has introduced an alternative broadband program that, should it win in the August 21st election, will replace the Labor government's National Broadband Network (NBN) plan.

Following Australian incumbent service provider Telstra's agreement to sell its wireline network infrastructure to the government for the NBN, the coalition said it wanted to shut down the Labor party's proposed $35.3 billion open access Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) network.

Instead, the coalition's plan would incorporate the help of other service providers to build a network capable of delivering 100 Mbps speeds to about 97 percent of Australia's population not through fiber, but rather a combination of HFC, DSL and wireless broadband by 2016.

Over the course of seven years, the coalition's plan would cost $5.75 billion, with $2.49 billion allocated to build a fiber-based backhaul network and another $677 million to upgrade existing COs to deliver enhanced services. The coalition would supplement government funding with about $677 million from other private players.  

Of course, the plan was immediately panned by Stephen Conroy, the current Communications Minister and one of the NBN's most vocal proponents, who said the coalition's plan would "consign Australia to the digital dark ages."

For more:
- Bloomberg has this story
- TeleGeography also has this coverage

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