Ninety per cent of Australians with fixed-line NBN connections would have access to high-speed internet by 2025 under a $2.4 billion election pitch by Labor to expand full-fibre access to 1.5 million properties.
Up to 660,000 homes or small businesses would get full-fibre access in regional Australia along with another 880,000 in suburban areas, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday.
This would then give those currently relying on copper wire connections the ability to get fibre connected to their homes and access faster broadband speeds.
The Morrison government last year announced that 75 per cent of fixed-line households and businesses in Australia would get ultra-fast broadband by 2023 as part of a $3.5 billion upgrade.
“Under Labor, 90 per cent of Australians in the fixed line footprint – over 10 million premises – will have access to world-class gigabit speeds by 2025,” Mr Albanese said.
Labor plans to fund the $2.4 billion election commitment to improve access for the additional 1.5 million properties through commonwealth loans, free cash flows and equity.
Mr Albanese also promised Labor would keep the NBN in public hands.
“Australians can and should expect to have access to world-leading internet speeds to keep us connected to each other and the world,” he said.
“Families need reliable fast connections for school and work, small businesses and entrepreneurs need to stay competitive.”
Mr Albanese said the current NBN infrastructure had let Australians down depending on the “lottery of where you live”.
“We know that during Covid, access to high-speed broadband has been so important… We know this isn’t a luxury, it’s a part of 21st century living,” he told ABC Breakfast.
About 12,000 extra jobs – including construction workers and engineers – would be created from the investment, Labor says.
The Coalition, then led by Tony Abbott, abandoned Labor’s fibre-to-the-premises model in 2013, instead opting for a mix of technologies to save costs, which have blown out.
Mr Albanese slammed the government for a “masterclass in technological incompetence and mismanagement” while overseeing the NBN.