NBN to get green light with Senate support

The Liberal Party's move to crush the National Broadband Network (NBN) has suffered a blow with the Greens pledging to support the legislation in the Senate and block a private sell-off.

The Greens could hold nine of the 76 Senate seats following the next Federal election on 21 August, giving them the balance of power. Some analysts predict the Greens could win a senate seat from each state after the election next month.

The move has damaged the Coalition’s sole ICT policy announcement in which it has pledged to dismantle the $43 billion network.

Sources close to Coalition policy development told Computerworld Australia of plans to exhume the failed OPEL project with a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) aspect that will deliver slower, cheaper broadband to regional areas.

The Greens would use a Senate position to block the Government from selling off up to 49 per cent of the NBN to the private sector, once it has been completed.

The Greens labelled the Abbott Government’s plans to scrape the NBN as “wrecking ball tactics”.

Greens senator, Christine Milne, said the private sector cannot deliver equitable broadband access.

“Market failure to deliver fast broadband across the nation led to the need for government to intervene and it is clear that the private sector is not the answer to equitable access,” Milne said at Tasmania Parliament House today.

“Just as the highway and rail networks were critical to rural Australia in the last centuries, fast broadband is the critical infrastructure of the future.

“Everything from cheese, to salmon and cherries can be accessed online but the service needs to be reliable and fast.”

Shadow communications minister, Tony Smith, did not return calls by the time of publication.


Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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