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Kev's Plan for Broadband

Broadband is obviously very important for the development of Australia''s future, but even more so for Australian website owners as broadband opens up the end users web experience through video, animation and interaction. This is particularly important because the more interesting or exciting the experience is, the more likely it is that users will return to a particular website.

Australia currently ranks 9th for average advertised speed according to research from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), but 23rd on average cost per MB.

An interesting side note is that we are second from the bottom (beaten by Poland, Mexico and Belgium) when comparing the average download speed for the incumbent telco (Telstra).

So with the change of Government will this see an improvement in Australia''s broadband?

Kevin Rudd has promised $4.7 billion to establish a National Broadband Network. Specific targets include 98% of the country having a minimum speed of 12 mbps (the current minimum is around 0.25 mbps, or around 256kps).

One proposed solution for this new network is a Fibre to the Node (FTTN) network. Telstra has been reluctant to build such a network, unless concerns that the government will enforce unfair regulatory provisions on the use of this network by its competitors are alleviated.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy stated labours policy that regulatory reforms were necessary to avoid the situation where telco's build duplicate networks. Conroy indicated further that the rollout of an open access network was core to Labours'' strategy.

Labour recognises the need for regulatory reforms to facilitate the roll-out of a national fibre to the node network. Labour is absolutely committed to competition in the Australian telecommunications sector, however in a fibre to the node world we need new regulatory structures to deliver competitive outcomes.

Labour had promised (once in government) to call on all interested parties in the construction of a national network to detail their investment and the relevant regulatory reforms necessary for the construction of this network.