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the Brisbane lord mayor, Campbell Newman. Photo: Glenn Hunt Unwilling to wait for his city’s turn …
The commercial venture, into which i3 Asia Pacific will invest $600 million, will use the city’s sewer and stormwater ducts as conduits for the cables. Saying Labor’s $43 billion national broadband network would take too long to arrive in Brisbane, the Liberal lord mayor, Campbell Newman, said yesterday that his network could be delivered without cost to ratepayers through a deal with a private company, i3 Asia Pacific. THE Brisbane City Council has announced its own breakaway broadband project, promising residents and businesses they will have their own high-speed fibre network within four years. It aims to deliver broadband to 463,000 homes.
i3 would act as a wholesaler, providing broadband capability to retailers such as Telstra and Optus. with Daniel Nancarrow

  As part of the deal to form minority government with the independents, Labor shifted the emphasis of the network roll-out to rural and regional Australia and Mr Newman said Brisbane was not prepared to wait. Mr Turnbull, the opposition communications spokesman, told a conference in Melbourne on Wednesday that ”the majority of Australians already have access to fast broadband”. Both sides sought to turn Mr Newman’s announcement to their advantage yesterday. The deal with i3 Asia Pacific would provide homes and businesses access to 100 megabits per second broadband, the same speeds Labor plans to offer. The federal government and the Coalition are at loggerheads over Labor’s $43 billion network, of which taxpayers will contribute about $27 billion. The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, noted the lack of detail surrounding the announcement but said it was ”recognition that fibre-to-the-home was the ultimate future proof technology for Australians”. “The mayor’s proposal clearly disputes Malcolm Turnbull’s claims that people living in cities already have adequate broadband,” Senator Conroy said. He also noted Mr Newman’s proposal had not undergone a cost-benefit analysis, a criticism the Coalition levels at Labor’s scheme, which will deliver broadband across the nation. NBN Co, the company charged with building Labor’s network, said it was business as usual and that it would continue its national roll-out. Yesterday Mr Turnbull said that Mr Newman’s proposal showed there was adequate private sector interest to build such networks. ”If this is feasible, why is the Commonwealth taxpayer picking up the tab?” he said. It would pay for the network and rent the infrastructure to internet service providers.