A member of the splinter group opposing the Labor Government’s fibre-centric National Broadband Network (NBN) said the close election results signal more research is needed for the $43 billion project.
BigAir CEO, Jason Ashton, is a part of the Alliance for Affordable Broadband, a group formed by members of the telecommunications community that favours a predominantly 4G wireless approach to the NBN. Members include Pipe Network founder, Bevan Slattery, and AAPT CEO, Paul Broad.
The group recently wrote an open letter criticising the current NBN project's pricetag and pushing for more wireless technologies to be used for the network.
With a minority Labor Government to be formed thanks to key Independents, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott’s preference for the party’s NBN plans, Aston was heartened that broadband has been put into such an important position.
But Labor’s photo-finish win means the party should review its current NBN plans, he said.
“Given there is diversity of opinion in broadband and given the two policies [from Labor and the Coalition] are quite different yet the nation was split 50-50 on support for the project, I think this highlights there is some need for more research in some oversight of the NBN project,” Ashton told ARN yesterday. “This will ensure we are spending money in the right areas and get appropriate return – both economic and social economic – from the investments we are making.”
After weeks of uncertainty over which party would run the country, the Alliance for Affordable Broadband will now have a good opportunity to spruik its version of the NBN, dubbed NBN 3.0, to the Federal Government.
“Government will be more consultative in approach and more inclusive of industry opinion and there is a real opportunity for the Alliance for Affordable Broadband to provide some alternative thinking on broadband.”
While Ashton is keen to promote NBN 3.0 to the Government, Internode carrier affairs manager, John Lindsay, was doubtful of the Alliance for Affordable Broadband’s impact on current NBN plans.
“It is actually a relatively small grouping and it’s only tangentially through TPG’s ownership of Pipe Networks that there is actually a DSL provider even in that particular group,” he said. “Their concerns are largely concerns of fibre owners and wireless operators and it’s great to see their messages that wireless has place in Australia’s broadband future but they do feel like a tightly focused lobby group.
“I don’t think they will have a disproportionate impact on NBN decision making.”