Labor plants its National Broadband Network election flag today, aiming to claw back some of the fibre the Coalition government removed from the network when it won power in 2013.
Labor's new NBN plan avoids trying to completely return the network to its original 93 percent fibre-to-the-premises vision, instead accepting the Coalition's use of hybrid-fibre coaxial (HFC) cables where they currently exist -- the cables rolled out by Optus and Telstra to deliver cable television services.
Now Labor targets knock out the Coalition's "fibre to the node" strategy, returning these areas to a FTTP rollout.
"Due to the mess Malcolm Turnbull has made of this critical infrastructure project, Labor's original plan for the NBN can no longer be achieved in one stage," said the Labor Party in a media release. "The Liberals have sunk $15 billion into the NBN in the last three years, and much of the initial build is under contract."
As a first-stage program, Labor aims to allow all planned construction work to proceed and have all future plans shifted back to a FTTP design. Then Labor plans to commission a report from Infrastructure Australia to develop a plan for how and when to upgrade existing networks to fibre.
As part of its policy announcement, Labor aimed to remind voters of the promises made by Prime Minister Turnbull when he was the Shadow Minister for Communications. Before the 2013 election, Turnbull claimed that under a Coalition NBN "all premises will have access to download speeds 25Mbps to 100Mbps by the end of 2016" and that "total funding required for the Coalition's NBN is $29.5 billion."
According to Labor's media release, "less than 19 percent of the country can access the NBN" currently and the Coalition's plan has now reached a cost of $56 billion.
The Coalition always argued the NBN would be slower to roll out and more costly under the original Labor plan.
Over the last three years Australia's internet speed ranking has dropped significantly on the Akamai 'State of the Internet' report.
Earlier in the election season the NBN was at the centre of a political storm when the Australian Federal Police raided the offices of Federal Labor politicians over leaked NBN documents. The documents in question have generally been negative on the rollout progress under the current government.