Turnbull needs to stop the "witch hunts", Conroy says

Turnbull needs to stop the "witch hunts", Conroy says

Senator Stephen Conroy has again insisted the Coalition needs to shed further details on its NBN policy.

Senator Stephen Conroy has again called on Malcolm Turnbull to answer questions about the Coalition’s National Broadband Network (NBN) policy, instead of continuing to make attacks.

The Minister for Broadband, Communication and the Digital Economy said the shadow minister should stop “short-changing” the public and release concrete details of the Coalition's policy on the NBN.

“In the first three quarters of this year [Turnbull] has delivered 16 speeches, issued 34 media releases, made 1268 tweets and launched a survey, but he has not released a broadband policy…” Conroy said in a statement.

“At yesterday’s Comms Day summit, Mr Turnbull again squibbed the chance of releasing a policy. He instead launched another outrageous attack on the professional expertise of NBN Co, saying that he’d conduct a thorough inquiry into the management and governance of the company.

“The Australian people want a broadband policy from the Coalition, not personal attacks or witch hunts.”

Conroy has called on Turnbull to answer questions on how much the Coalition's NBN would cost; whether he would continue with the structural separation of Telstra; speeds on a Coalition NBN; where fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) would be built; consumer prices; how long it would take to build; and whether the Coalition would retain the network under government ownership until it is built.

Turnbull recently launched a broadband survey to determine where the worst performing areas were in Australia in order to prioritise where the NBN needs to be rolled out.

“Mr Turnbull also shouldn’t need a survey to know that no one in Australia would get a download speed of 100 Mbps using Telstra’s ageing copper network under his FTTN plan,” Conroy said today.

“The contrast between the Gillard government’s National Broadband Network and Mr Turnbull’s inadequate approach could not be clearer.”

Turnbull has consistently stated a fibre-to-the-node architecture would provide cheaper and faster access to the NBN and he has been a strong opponent of key agreements in the NBN, including the $11 billion agreement between NBN Co and Telstra and an $800 million agreement between NBN Co and Optus.

Turnbull recently indicated he would look at overturning these two agreements if the Coalition wins the next election.

"We would seek to reverse the arrangement whereby Telstra and Optus are obliged not to use their HFC to compete with NBN Co on broadband data and voice, the extent to which that is possible obviously depends on negotiation," he said.

Turnbull also recently appeared on the ABC’s 7:30 program, stating the Coalition would use a mix of technologies, such as fibre-to-the-premises for new developments and what Turnbull is calling fibre-to-the-cabinet, a term used in the UK to describe fibre-to-the-node.

He also said most people would achieve speeds of 50Mbps, while those farthest away from the node to experience speeds of 25Mbps and a third of people to achieve speeds of 80Mbps, based on the experience in the UK.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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