Better internet for regional Australia? Labor pitches $2.4 billion NBN upgrade

rural telecommunications tower

Millions of regional and suburban Australians will be in line for an NBN upgrade if the Labor government wins the next federal election, leader Anthony Albanese has pitched. The $2.4 billion investment from Labor would see fibre-to-the-premises connections installed in more than 1.5 million regional and suburban premises. 

The upgrade would see Labor reverse the plan made by the Coalition back in 2013 to introduce a mixed-technology approach to the previously full-fibre NBN rollout, in order to reduce the cost of the project. 

The cost of the mixed-technology approach has since blown out, and those homes that missed out on full-fibre connections do not have access to the higher speed tiers on the NBN network. In reverting back to Labor’s original full-fibre connection plan, over 90% of Aussies with fixed-line connections would have access to the highest speed tier - occasionally referred to as gigabit internet - by 2025. 

Up to 660,000 homes or small businesses would get full-fibre access in regional Australia along with another 880,000 in suburban areas, bringing the total number of premises connected via fixed line to over 10 million.

Properties eligible for the upgrade that currently connect to the NBN network via existing copper wiring would then gain the ability to have fibre connected to their premises and access faster broadband speeds. 

Currently, Both the NBN250 and NBN1000 speed tiers are only available to customers with fibre-to-the-premises connections, or select hybrid-fibre-coaxial connections. The fibre upgrade to eligible homes would open access to these faster speed tiers to customers who are currently limited to slower internet speeds. 

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