Labor to scrap $1.9 billion WiMAX network

Labor to scrap $1.9 billion WiMAX network

Minister claims five years' wait for fibre worth it

Shadow minister for communications and IT Stephen Conroy has smashed the federal government's Australia Connected initiative and promised to wipe out the broadband taskforce if Labor wins government.

Speaking at the Australian telecommunications summit in Sydney today, Conroy labeled the federal governments' $1.9 billion broadband plan to roll out WiMAX and ADSL2+ across the country with the popular "fraud-band" tag.

He said the network's purported speeds of up to 12Mbps could fall as low as 512Kbps because of changes in topography such as mountains and buildings, distance between nodes, power limitations for residents outside 240 volt grids, and traffic build-up.

The OPEL network will operate on a shared spectrum, and will employ a mix of technology, including ADSL2+, WiMAX, and wireless mesh networks in densely populated areas.

"Labor's fibre to the node (FttN) network will have a minimum of 12Mbps delivered to 98 percent of the population and will promote competition [because] it will be built on open access," Conroy said.

"I am a fan of WiFi networks but they are complementary to FttN networks, they are not a substitute.

"We reject the [government's] proposed closed-access network and Labor's open-access network is fully costed by Telstra."

Conroy dismissed claims by federal ICT minister Helen Coonan that FttN connectivity is restricted within a four kilometre radius of an exchange, claiming Labor's FttN base stations will be placed five to to 10 kilometres apart, well within the 20 kilometre radius proposed by analysts.

The FttN network is based on Telstra's 2005 proposal which will cost $4.7 billion of government and private funds and will be rolled out over five years.

Conroy said a fibre-to-the-home (FttH) network would be not be immediately considered as projected costs range between $30 and $50 billion.

The opposition will demand open access for all sections of a FttH network, including the last mile which links the premise to the node currently controlled by Telstra.

The Labor government would honour the current government's OPEL-lead broadband proposal if it wins the next election and the plan has been signed off.

Follow Us

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.


ARN Innovation Awards 2022

Innovation Awards is the market-leading awards program for celebrating ecosystem innovation and excellence across the technology sector in Australia.

EDGE 2022

EDGE is the leading technology conference for business leaders in Australia and New Zealand, built on the foundations of collaboration, education and advancement.

Show Comments