Rural areas to lose in Coalition internet plan, says expert

Trevor Veale

RURAL areas could be disadvantaged under the Coalition's broadband plans, a senior lecturer at Edith Cowan University says.

The Coalition's plans, which will stop the National Broadband Network rollout in favour of a copper network, will begin from day one, if the Opposition wins Saturday's poll.

But senior lecturer at the ECU School of Business Dr Philip Dobson said the Coalition's plans would "lead to inconsistent infrastructure, particularly for rural regions".

"Under their model the high capability to be delivered by Labor's Fibre to the Premises plan can no longer be universally assumed by service providers," he said.

"Thus, for example, remote education or medical diagnostics will be more difficult to implement and thus not drive adoption to the same extent as under the Labor plan.

He said the power of the NBN to "reduce rural inequality will also be severely hampered under the Coalition plan", with less powerful technologies for regional areas.

Adjunct Lecturer at Australian National University's College of Engineering and Computer Science, Tom Worthington, likened the difference to buying cars.

He said the Labor proposal was like buying a Lexus "expensive but it will be fast and reliable and last a long time", while the Coalition was offering a "10-year-old Toyota Camry".

Mr Worthington said the Coalition's offering was "mechanically sound, it just needs a few parts and will be much cheaper".

Topics:  broadband federal election 2013 internet nbn

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