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Conroy slams Coalition broadband policy

Communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has condemned the Coalition's broadband policy stating it will make Australians pay up to $5000 to connect to superfast broadband.

Senator Conroy said the Coalition's policy confirmed it would disconnect 9 million homes and businesses from Labor's NBN, "denying Australia a world-class communications system" and if Australians want an NBN, they would have to cough up about $5000, whereas under Labor connecting to NBN is free. "

View our interactive NBN map

People in regional Australia will also pay more for broadband than their capital city counterparts because the Coalition will scrap Labor's universal wholesale pricing guarantee, Conroy said.

"The Coalition policy is built on the assumption that no one wants or needs a service better than 25 Mbps," Conroy said.

Conroy also called on figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in a report on Internet Activity in Australia for December 2012, which showed consistent growth in the amount of data being downloaded over fixed line networks.

"Demand for higher speed services also increased. The number of subscribers at 24 Mbps or more is now 1,645,000. This is an increase of 35.5 per cent since December 2011," he said. "But Turnbull thinks Australians don't want or need these speeds.

"In this day and age, fast, reliable, and affordable broadband is an essential utility, like water and power. Accessing it shouldn't depend on where you happen to live or how much money you have. The Coalition's policy is simply inadequate for Australia's needs now and into the future," Conroy said. "It is like building the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with only one lane. It cannot deliver the high speed services that Australians require to take full advantage of broadband-enabled healthcare, education, and business opportunities."

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