OPPOSITION communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull has re-affirmed Albury-Wodonga will be using quicker broadband by 2016.
The Coalition came under attack from independent Cathy McGowan and Labor candidate for Farrer Gavin Hickey for reports suggesting the twin cities won’t be hooked up to the National Broadband Network until 2017-18 because households already had access to cable networks installed in the 1990s and would be a lower priority in the rollout.
The cables were installed to carry pay TV services and have since also provided broadband connections to places such as Albury-Wodonga.
Mr Turnbull responded directly to The Border Mail on concerns raised and included a back-hander for Ms McGowan.
“The first question you’ve got to ask is how much of an independent she is if she is running Labor Party lines,” Mr Turnbull said.
“She is obviously getting her broadband advice from Labor.
“Under our approach everyone in Australia including (Albury-Wodonga) will have access to very fast broadband by 2016.
“We are going to use a mix of technology to get the job done as quickly as possible; the problem with the Labor scheme is it is just not happening.”
Ms McGowan said she was disappointed by the Coalition’s disregard for NBN locally.
“It is ridiculous to think that infrastructure meant for 90s is deemed acceptable for 2013 by the Coalition,” she said.
“The Coalition obviously don’t understand the benefits that we as a region would reap from technology like the NBN, not only to compete with the cities but also for revolutionary programs like telehealth that will benefit Indi.”
Mr Hickey said construction on the fibre network had started on homes in central Albury and East Albury.
But he is worried if Labor loses the election the fibre rollout will stop.
“Areas to miss out on superfast fibre broadband under the Coalition include 23,500 homes and businesses in and around West Albury, North Albury, Lavington,
Springdale Heights, Thurgoona and Wirlinga,” he said.
“They will be left with one of two choices, battle on using last century’s copper or fork out as much as $5000 to have fibre connected to their home or business, something others in Albury will get for free under Labor’s NBN.”
Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said every household would get speeds of 25-100 megabits per second in the Coalition’s first term and not just “Labor’s chosen few”.