Labor pledges better NBN connections

November 30, 2021 BY

Opposition Anthony Albanese announces Labor’s NBN policy. Photo: ANTHONY ALBANESE MP

FEDERAL Labor will go further than NBN Co’s recent plan to upgrade some fibre connections on the National Broadband Network (NBN), pledging to roll out full fibre to an extra 1.5 million homes and businesses if it wins the coming federal election.

Last week, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese announced Labor’s policy would ensure 90 per cent of Australia’s fixed line footprint, equivalent to 10 million homes and businesses, would get Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) connections and access to speeds of at least 1 gigabyte per second by 2025.

Labor estimates 75 per cent of Victoria’s Fibre to the Node (FTTN) footprint has fibre access, and its plan would make 90 per cent of the state’s fixed line footprint (or 81 per cent of all Victorian premises) capable of gigabit speeds.

Labor has also committed to not selling off the NBN.

The plan is expected to cost $2.4 billion and will be funded through a combination of Commonwealth loans, free cash flows and equity.

In a joint statement, Mr Albanese and Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said reliable, quality, high speed internet was “not a luxury or a nice-to-have” but “essential 21st century infrastructure”.

“Labor’s expansion will particularly benefit regional Australia, which has been left behind by the Morrison-Joyce Government, by providing up to 660,000 additional homes and business in our regions with access to optical fibre.

“Families need reliable, fast connections for school and work, small businesses and entrepreneurs need it to stay competitive, regional communities need it for all those reasons, and as a matter of safety.

“Our plan will give Australians who now rely on copper wire connections the choice of having fibre connected directly into their homes if they want a faster NBN speed than their copper can deliver.

“In additional to powering the digital economy, our plan will create 12,000 jobs for construction workers, engineers and project managers in our regions and in our suburbs.”

Labor’s policy follows NBN Co’s announcement earlier this month that another 200,000 premises on the NBN, including more than 14,000 homes and businesses across some parts of the Geelong region, had been added to its fibre extension initiative.