Broadband the hot issue in Australian election

Whether or not the Australian government should foot the $38 billion bill to construct a fiber optic National Broadband Network (NBN) is still unsettled after a hotly contested election resulted in a hung parliament.

The network, which included a $10 billion deal with Telstra to provide infrastructure, was the bone of contention between the Labor party and the Liberal-National coalition that favored a more cost-conscious $6.3 billion privately run plan. Saturday's election results muddied things as a power shift to independents in rural areas most likely to benefit from the NBN put the $38 billion plan back into play. Labor and the opposition are now cozying up to the independents in hopes of creating a coalition government that will, in the end, determine the fate of the NBN.

"The NBN is no longer seen as the clear negative it was when it was initially conceived," said Luke Sinclair, an investment manager at Karara Capital.

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