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Internet access speed become political carrot in Australian election

It would be hard for a cynical person to not question the sudden announcement of a major speed improvement of a national broadband initiative, even before it has started to be built, just 10 days before a national election; but this is the case in Australia.

Today Prime Minister Julia Gillard, along with Communication Minister Stephen Conroy, were on hand at the official launch of the Australian national fibre-optic broadband network where Senator Conroy revealed that the $43 billion plan will now be able to deliver 1 gigabit speed rather than the original 100 Mbps as planned.

When questioned about the radical speed increase Senator Conroy stated that he only informed of the increase last night. There were also questions about this all happening just ten days before the national election and has become a contentious point between the the current government and the opposition lead by Tony Abbott.

Ms Gillard used the NBN launch to attack the Coalition’s decision to scrap it.

“I am completely determined that we will build the NBN,” she said.

“I will build the NBN. Mr Abbott, if he is elected as PM will not. That decision would cost Australia jobs.”

The Government says the NBN will provide fibre-optic connections to 93 per cent of the population. The remainder would receive wireless or satellite technology.

The Coalition also revealed its broadband policy this week, pledging to spend $6 billion to deliver internet speeds of up to 100Mbps to 97 per cent of Australians through a range of technologies.

The Coalition has vowed to dump the NBN because it says it is too expensive and it does not support a nationally owned network.

Source: ABC News (Australia)

image courtesy of AAP: Alan Porritt