Friday, March 8, 2013

Australia - Parliamentary Committee deeply divided on next generation broadband report

The fourth report of the Australian Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network (NBN) has been published. The Chairman, Robert Oakeshott MP, noted that:
Even though we have successfully come inside the Terms of Reference reporting date by 24 hours, it has been several months of disagreement between committee members on some very basic points in this report that have seen the report delivered later than planned.

In my view, this is an early warning sign that the topic of higher speed broadband technology is likely to feature strongly in political debate throughout 2013, an election year.

The Committee recommended much more detailed reporting by the NBN Co, including performance in several areas. It also wants to:
  • explore the synergies between fixed and mobile telecommunications networks with a view to using the National Broadband Network to improve mobile telecommunications; and
  • facilitate private providers use of NBN Co infrastructure to provide and improve mobile telephone services and coverage across Australia, particularly in regional and remote areas
It reports considerable changes, including delayed commencement of volume rollout and increased use of Telstra infrastructure.

A fifth review, the last before the election, is underway.

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