The South West will receive better broadband sooner under a future Coalition government.
This was the clear message from Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband Malcolm Turnbull during his two days in the region.
Broadband blackspots would be targeted and mobile phone communications would also receive a significant boost.
“I genuinely believe the approach we are taking will be better for regional Australia,” Mr Turnbull told a packed house of almost 100 people at the Bunbury Chamber of Commerce and Industries on Tuesday.
The Coalition would approach broadband in a smart, businesslike manner which would use a mix of technologies and encourage competition back into the communications market.
A monopoly by the NBN has seen very little commercial development in the South West for the past five years, allowing a digital divide between suburbs and towns to widen dramatically.
The Coalition’s plan will deliver high speed broadband of up to 80mbps which is expected to be more than adequate for home use.
“People will get a high speed broadband sooner, at less cost to the taxpayer, more affordable to the consumer and more people on fixed line broadband at high speed,” Mr Turnbull said.
Nola Marino said she was very glad that Mr Turnbull could also speak with regional Leaders at a Communications Forum she had arranged.
“We are committed to a high speed broadband future in the South West,” Mrs Marino said.
“People were willing to listen to Malcolm and our viable policy which would benefit my electorate.”
Mr Turnbull says he does not believe towns in the South West with less than 1000 premises – which are excluded from the NBN’s roll out – would regard themselves as being isolated communities.
“As long as there is an exchange in these towns we will put devices in so that houses and businesses can be hooked up to fixed line broadband,” Mr Turnbull told people at a Busselton broadband forum on Monday evening.
In built up areas fibre will be rolled out to the node with the last 100m to 1000m completed by the existing copper wire network.
Mr Turnbull said he envisaged offices and businesses city centres to be directly connected to fibre.
Fibre could be connected to businesses or homes where owners are willing to pay for the service.
This approach will cost about half of what the government is currently borrowing to fund the NBN.
Total NBN costs are expected to run over $50 billion, all borrowed and not accountable on the nation’s budget.