Turnbull claims more rural areas will get fixed-line broadband under the Coalition

Shadow communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull has claimed that more customers and small businesses in small towns will gain access to fixed-line broadband, rather than fixed wireless, under the Coalition.

Labor’s NBN will deliver fixed-line fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband services to around 93% of Australian households, with 4G ‘fixed wireless’ to a further 4% and satellite to the remaining 3%.

However, in a speech to Parliament repeated on Sky Afternoon Agenda, Turnbull claimed the Coalition’s broadband plan would deliver fixed-line fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) broadband to more properties than were covered under the government’s FFTH plan.

“I might say that under the approach that we would take many of those premises or households in the fixed wireless footprint at present will get wire line, fixed line, very fast broadband,” Turnbull said.

“They are in towns that have less than 1000 premises, which will not get fibre-to-the-premise under Labor’s approach, but which will be eminently suitable for a vectored VDSL fibre-to-the-node solution of the kind that we are proposing.

“There are many smaller communities in rural and regional Australia that will get much faster and much more convenient broadband services under our approach than they will under Labor’s approach.

Turnbull’s claims were attacked by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who sought to minimise the difference by claiming that only 4000 additional country town premises would be covered as a result of the Coalition plan.

“Mr Turnbull continues to claim that under the Coalition policy ‘many, many country towns – less than 1000 premises’ will get a fixed line broadband service,’ Conroy states.

“The Coalition’s policy states that the number of homes and businesses covered by fixed wireless and satellite is only 4000 premises less than under Labor’s NBN.”

Meanwhile, Turnbull continued to attack Telstra and the NBN over the mishandling of asbestos in ducts.

“NBN Co was very well aware that there was asbestos issues, but as recently as April… their management were saying it was not an issue. So I think this does not reflect well on the NBN Co or indeed Telstra,’ Turnbull told Sky Afternoon Agenda.

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