THE Coalition’s national broadband network promises to be cheaper and to connect Border homes sooner but a local expert says Labor’s plan is better for the nation.
The Coalition said on Tuesday its plan would cost $29.5 billion, compared with Labor’s forecast of $44 billion.
It also claimed its plan would cost $21 a month less in 2021.
And it said all houses and businesses would have broadband with a download rate of 25-100 megabits a second by late 2016, and 50-100 megabits by 2019.
Fibre-to-the-node technology would be used, piggy-backing on existing copper wires.
Businesses and homes would have the option of connecting fibre to their premises.
The member for Farrer Sussan Ley and member for Indi Sophie Mirabella yesterday said the plan would give Border residents broadband access sooner and for less money.
“It’s a policy that provides a rigid time frame, certainty on costs and a clear commitment to deliver better services to areas that need it most, first,” Ms Ley said.
“The internet speeds fibre-to-the-node offer will be more than adequate for most users, with the option of even faster speeds on demand now, if you need it.”
Ms Mirabella said the average resident didn’t need speeds of up to 100 megabits.
“For users, 25 and 50 megabits is more than adequate.
“Those who want more than 50 megabits can connect fibre to the premises. It’s silly to have a one-size fits all,” Ms Mirabella said.
But Charles Sturt University lecturer in information technology at Wagga Ken Eustace said the government’s fibre optic cable was the superior option.
“We need fibre to the home to future-proof digital data needs because of changing technology,” Mr Eustace said.
“If you’re in Albury, Wodonga, Wagga or Rand, you can run a world-class business, just like someone from the city could.”
Albury financial planner Lindsay Poy was one of the first on the Border when he connected his Thurgoona home to the NBN three months ago.
He said he wouldn’t fully enjoy high-speed internet until he updated his desktop computer to match internet speed.
Mr Poy said he preferred the Coalition’s NBN proposal.
“We don’t need to spend that money. We should go for cheaper versions,” Mr Poy said.
“It’s more important to spend on our hospitals.”
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said the Coalition’s plan short-changed the nation’s infrastructure.
“It wouldn’t deliver the speed Australians required to take full advantage of broadband-enabled healthcare, education and business opportunities,” Mr Conroy said.