Labor is the nation building party. From the Snowy Mountains Scheme to the National Broadband Network, Labor builds the infrastructure for the jobs of the future.
The original Labor National Broadband Network would have delivered optic fibre to 93 per cent of homes and businesses, providing speeds of up to one gigabit per second on a network easily scalable to much higher speeds in the future.
It would have provided our nation’s businesses, entrepreneurs, students and scientists with the tools they needed to compete in the global economy of the 21st century.
In 2013, Malcolm Turnbull scrapped Labor’s world class fibre-to-the-premises NBN. Instead the Liberals are building a slower, second-rate copper NBN that will leave Australia behind and hamstring our economy into the future.
In the last three years Australia has plummeted from 30th in the world for internet speeds to 60th. We are now behind most of Europe. We are behind most of Asia. We are behind the United States and Canada and New Zealand. We are even behind Romania, Russia, Poland and Slovakia.
Due to the mess Malcolm Turnbull has made of this critical infrastructure project, Labor’s original plan for the NBN can no longer be achieved in one stage. The Liberals have sunk $15 billion into the NBN in the last three years, and much of the initial build is under contract.
A Shorten Labor Government will deal with Malcolm Turnbull’s mess in two ways.
First, we will scale up the rollout of fibre-to-the-premises and phase out the rollout of fibre-to-the-node. Construction of fibre-to-the-node will cease when the current pipeline of construction work is completed and design and construction of fibre-to-the-premises is scaled back up.
This will deliver fibre-to-the-premises to up to two million homes and businesses during the initial build that would otherwise get Malcolm Turnbull’s second-rate copper version.
Second, a Shorten Labor Government will commission Infrastructure Australia, with input from relevant experts, to manage the development of a plan that outlines how and when the parts of Australia left with Mr Turnbull’s second-rate NBN should be transitioned to fibre-to-the-premises.
You can’t have an innovation boom while you are still buffering.
We must get our broadband infrastructure right to be competitive in the region and globally. Our neighbours in the region – Japan, South Korea, Singapore, even New Zealand – are all rolling out fibre networks.
Labor will ensure that Australia has the digital infrastructure we need to create the jobs of the future – right here in Australia.