The federal government and the Coalition are at loggerheads over Labor’s $43 billion network, of which taxpayers will contribute about $27 billion. with Daniel Nancarrow

  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. i3 would act as a wholesaler, providing broadband capability to retailers such as Telstra and Optus. 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. Yesterday Mr Turnbull said that Mr Newman’s proposal showed there was adequate private sector interest to build such networks. Mr Turnbull, the opposition communications spokesman, told a conference in Melbourne on Wednesday that ”the majority of Australians already have access to fast broadband”. ”If this is feasible, why is the Commonwealth taxpayer picking up the tab?” he said. “The mayor’s proposal clearly disputes Malcolm Turnbull’s claims that people living in cities already have adequate broadband,” Senator Conroy said. 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. It would pay for the network and rent the infrastructure to internet service providers. 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 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”. Both sides sought to turn Mr Newman’s announcement to their advantage yesterday.
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Photo: Glenn Hunt the Brisbane lord mayor, Campbell Newman. 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. It aims to deliver broadband to 463,000 homes. 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.