Media Release - A Digital Divide

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2 October 2014

The Abbott Liberal Government are creating a digital divide and carving up the country into haves and have-nots when it comes to high-speed broadband.

Today’s announcement of an extended rollout of the National Broadband Network in the Hunter confirmed that large numbers of residents will only have access to a slower, inferior fibre-to-the-node broadband service relying on old copper technology. 

Other residents in the region, like those in parts of Mayfield, East Maitland and the Central Coast, will have access to the faster, more reliable fibre-to-the-premise service.

While welcoming the announcement of broadband reaching new areas, Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon, was critical of the overall rollout.

“Every home and business in Newcastle was due to receive the most reliable and fastest broadband network within three years before Tony Abbott was elected,” Ms Claydon said.

“Now, only parts of Mayfield are on the map and the rest of my electorate still don’t know what service they will receive and when. There was an announcement about Hamilton receiving a node service in June but we haven’t heard anything since.”

“It’s great that some parts of the region will now receive a broadband service, but it is the inferior service and there are still large parts of the region that have no access to broadband at all.”

“Businesses need certainty to make decisions for their future. Productivity is being effected and we are seeing businesses relocate based on where they can get the fastest broadband speeds.”

“Today’s announcement confirms that under this government we will be a region of haves and have-nots. Your address will determine whether you’ll have access to the best technology available or have to rely on the old copper network.”

“The claim that the node speed is ‘fast enough’ doesn’t stack up. Those who already have access to a fibre service are ordering the faster speeds available and our reliance on speed of broadband will only increase over time.  Access to high-speed broadband is an essential service that we should all have. There shouldn’t be a digital divide in Australia.”

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Authorised by Sharon Claydon MP, 427 Hunter Street Newcastle