Coalition's NBN plans would neglect regional areas

MOVES towards a more competitive market could hit regional customers of the National Broadband Network, a Labor frontbencher said on Tuesday night.

Labor MP and former parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister Ed Husic made the comments on Lateline on Tuesday.

He said the Coalition's plans to open up the NBN to more competition would leave regional areas neglected.

"What you will inevitably have is cherry-picking, where they will just go for the big markets and neglect regional Australia," he said.

He said the Labor approach had been to ensure all customers - wherever they lived - would be given the same prices for broadband access.

But the Coalition policy, which will force new customers to pay for copper extensions of the network to their homes, could unfairly impact on regional areas where the links to the "node" will cover longer distances.

"The Coalition is effectively committed to stick-taping together networks of doubtful quality," Mr Husic said.

His comments came after Communication Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday announced a six-month long review of the NBN Co.

The review, he said, would look at the costs of the NBN roll-out with a view to saving the government money.

But Mr Turnbull said he could not announce specific plans of the continued roll-out, only saying it would continue as specified by the previous government until the review was completed.

Topics:  coalition national broadband network regional areas

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