Labor announces NBN pitch ahead of next federal election

The federal opposition has promised to give 1.5 million homes and businesses access to higher-speed Internet if Labor wins the next federal election.

The $ 2.4 billion plan will expand full-fiber National Broadband Network (NBN) access across the country in all states and territories.

The package also includes a commitment to connect up to 660,000 premises in regional Australia to optical fiber.

While Labor does not yet specify how it would pay for enlargement, the fact sheet the party has released says money will come from “a combination of Commonwealth loans, free cash flows and equity, if determined appropriately”.

“The optimal financing mix and capital structure will be determined in the government,” the fact sheet stated.

NBN budgets

In previous years, the NBN has exceeded the budget, but the federal government has defended its overall handling of the project.

“The available speeds on the NBN across all technologies are very much in line with the needs of the vast majority of Australia,” said Communications Minister Paul Fletcher in 2020.

An important part of Labour’s plan is a commitment to give 90 percent of those living in the “landline footprint” – the areas served by landline internet such as Fiber to the Premises – access to “world-class” gigabit speeds by 2025.

Currently, download speeds must be a minimum of 25 megabits per second with an upload speed of 5 Mbps during rush hour.

NBN remains public if Labor wins

Labor has now promised that if it wins the government, the NBN will be kept as a public asset and not sold off to keep prices low.

The party has estimated that 840,000 premises in the suburbs would benefit from the plan along with the 660,000 regional premises.

“Our plan will give Australians, who are now dependent on copper wire connections, the choice of having fiber connected directly into their homes if they want a faster NBN rate than copper can deliver,” said Labor leader Anthony Albanese and Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland.

A woman wearing a red suit gestures with her hands.
Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland says the plan is to give Australians faster internet via fiber connections. (ABC)

Labor has estimated that the expenditure will create 12,000 jobs in construction, engineering and project management across regional Australia and the suburbs.

NBN was declared built and fully operational in December 2020.

In September this year, the federal government undertook to upgrade the network under a $ 3.5 billion plan.

During the expansion, Fiber To The Node, Fiber To The Curb and Hybrid Fiber Coaxial networks will all be upgraded, with millions of additional households to get higher speeds by 2023.

The government expects the plan will create 25,000 jobs over the next two years.

At the beginning of the year, almost one person per minute asked NBN for better internet speeds.

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