CANBERRA, AAP – One-and-a-half million homes and businesses are set to have higher quality internet under a broader $2.4 billion NBN plan should Labor win power.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has promised more than 10 million premises will have “world-class” internet speeds by 2025 under a Labor government.
Households and businesses relying on copper wire for an internet connection will be given the option to switch to a fibre connection to the premise.
It is estimated up to 660,000 premises in regional areas and 840,000 in the suburbs stand to benefit.
“Depending upon the lottery of where you live, some people do have access to high speed broadband, some don’t,” Mr Albanese told the ABC on Wednesday.
“During COVID, access to high-speed broadband has been so important for students getting through school for people working from home.
“This isn’t a luxury; this is a part of 21st-century living.”
The policy is expected to cost $2.4 billion and create 12,000 jobs.
“It’s an investment in our future and it’s an investment in equity as well,” Mr Albanese said.
“Why is it that some communities and some places are just missing out?”
The opposition pitch to improve internet access follows Australia being ranked 59th in the world for average broadband speed.
Under Labor’s proposal, 7.5 million premises will be on a full-fibre connection on the NBN, or have access to it if faster speeds are needed.
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the government had already committed to making ultra-fast broadband with speeds of up to one gigabit per second available for eight million homes across Australia by 2023.
“Nothing in what Labor is now proposing adds to our existing commitment before 2023,” he said.
“We are already well advanced in delivering on that commitment.”
Australia’s competition watchdog earlier this year flagged concerns about lower-than-expected internet speeds for customers on fibre-to-the-node connections under the existing copper network.
Mr Fletcher called Labor’s plan “wasteful spending” and said it needed to explain how the project would be funded.