THE new Coalition government will honour Labor’s contracts to build broadband internet towers for rural south-west residents.
But the defeated government’s controversial scheme to roll out fibre-optic cable to premises in all major towns and cities will be diluted.
Some of the promised fixed-wireless towers have already been built, while others are in the preparation stages to provide faster internet service for areas that would not have been served by the NBN fibre-optic cable roll-out.
Re-elected Liberal MP for Wannon, Dan Tehan, confirmed yesterday the tower contracts would be honoured.
“The only thing that will be changed is that we will provide fibre-optic cabling to the street or node, instead of directly to houses,” Mr Tehan said.
“Then the connection to houses or business premises will be via existing copper cable.
“It will provide a minimum speed of 25 megabits, enough to download four movies simultaneously.
“If people want greater speeds they will have the option of getting fibre cable into their premises.”
In April, NBN told The Standard fixed wireless transmitters would be installed and switched on across the south-west and Wimmera in the next 18 months, subject to regulatory approval.
Dennington, Allans-ford and Bushfield were on the list, but the site chosen at Bushfield Recreation Reserve has sparked a community protest petition with 115 signatures.
Mr Tehan said the Coalition broadband plan received positive feedback during the election campaign.
“Labor’s NBN scheme has blown out by a further 1.2 to 1.6 billion dollars,” he said.
“Having to run fibre into every house is incredibly costly. That’s why fibre to the street or node is much more streamlined.”
He said timing of the amended broadband roll-out was yet to be worked out, but he expected Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.
More towers for mobile phone transmissions will also be built under the new government’s plan.
Mr Tehan said this too had been well supported by south-west residents in the election lead-up.
“We have allocated $100 million to expand mobile phone networks around Australia,” he said.
“There is also potential for phone companies to put their equipment on NBN towers.
“Carriers will be required to provide matching funding and installation will be put out to competitive tendering.”