Broadband becomes an Australian rules political football

The Australians may have a different definition of football as a sport than their American counterparts, but when it comes to broadband, there is no such thing as Australian rules political football; the politics game looks very much like what's going on in the U.S. right now.

Australia's outgoing Labor government wants to build a fiber network to nearly every home as part of what they call the National Broadband Network (sound familiar?) at a cost of about $43 billion. The opposition party says that's stupid and would create a "$43 billion taxpayer-funded white elephant." The opposition coalition pledged fund a $2.74 billion fiber optic network upgrade and invest about $6.3 billion more to get a private sector network up and running.

The plan also includes establishing a national broadband commission to oversee a system that passes 97 percent of the island continent's homes with speeds ranging from 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps by 2016.

That revised plan doesn't sit well with Tasmania, where broadband network infrastructure has already rolled out. The opposition coalition plans to sell that off, which, Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett called "political pettiness" and "a bitter betrayal of regional Australia and Tasmania in particular."

And you probably thought these kinds of things only happened in the U.S.

For more:
- Bloomberg has this story
- see this story
- the Sydney Morning Herald has this story
- and The Register this story

Related articles:
Two views of broadband: Culberson rakes FCC plan, Tasmanians on point in Australia
Mike Quigley to lead Australia's next-gen broadband initiative

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