Expert says Coalition's Fast Internet Plan Is A 'Lemon'

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Experts have canned the Coalition’s alternative policy for the National Broadband Network released yesterday.

senior lecturer at RMIT University’s school of electrical and computer engineering, Mark Gregory, told Business Insider that while it was cheaper in short term, the plan would actually be more expensive.

Gregory said that: “I have to believe that it is the weakest part of coalition policy going into the election.”

“They should do a review [of the policy] if they get into government.” he said.

While cheaper in the short term, “If you’re looking towards 2030 then it is actually significantly more expensive,” as it will need to be upgraded again, Gregory explained.

Instead of spending $37.4 billion building the world’s fastest broadband for most Australians, the Coalition is proposing to use a mostly cheaper technology called fibre to the node.

This would mean building fibre to street corners, but then still using the old copper telephone lines to reach houses and apartments.

Instead of changing the method, Gregory said that The Coalition should just concentrate on being more efficient in their roll-out of Labor’s plans.

“It’s not practical, or reasonable to change horses midstream,” Gregory said.

There’s “no reason,” he said, “for the Coalition to do anything else.”

Yesterday opposition communications spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull said Labor’s plans offered internet that was too fast for most people anyway.

But Geoff Huston, chief scientist of regional internet registry Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre and a former Telstra employee echoed Gregory’s concerns.

He told Fairfax Media: “What [the Coalition] is trying to say is ‘what we do now on the internet is what we will do in the next 30 years.”

He said of the idea the internet — under Labor’s full-fiber plans — would be too fast: “”What stupid nonsense! What we were doing 30 years ago modems could handle,” Mr Huston said. “I would side with the view that this [policy] is indeed a lemon.”

Under the Coalition’s plan, in the short term the project would be finished in 2019 instead of 2021 – and it would cost about $17 billion less than Labor’s version.

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