Coalition criticised for leaving regional areas behind

Will Malcolm Turnbull make a surprise visit to Kingaroy?
Will Malcolm Turnbull make a surprise visit to Kingaroy?

IT IS "very unlikely" regional Australians would pay more than those in the city for high-speed broadband under a Coalition government, opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull says.

The Coalition unveiled its long-awaited broadband policy on Tuesday, claiming it would be delivered two years ahead of Labor's National Broadband Network at almost half the cost.

Instead of rolling out fibre directly to people's homes, the Coalition would utilise the existing copper network for 70% of the country and run fibre to exchanges.

While it would deliver speeds of 50mbps by 2019, it would be significantly slower than the NBN's 100mbps.

The Coalition's policy has been widely criticised, with claims regional areas would be among the biggest losers under the plan.

Regional Development Minister Anthony Albanese said by removing the fixed price structure of the NBN people in regional Australia would pay more for high speed internet.

It was an assertion dismissed by Mr Turnbull, who said prices paid by consumers would be considerably less under the Coalition plan.

But he conceded there could be exceptions.

"I think it is very unlikely that anyone in the bush will be paying more, or materially more than anyone else, there may be some parts of the cities very densely settled areas where there is intense competition and where prices may be lower," Mr Turnbull told Sky News.

"But I honestly think that's going to be the exception, but the difficulty is if you want to allow competition you've got to allow some flexibility.

"If you say there's going to be only one price and people can't charge above or below it then there's no room for flexibility.

"What we've done is we've set a cap so that people in the bush will know that under us they will pay less for their broadband, they'll get the upgrade sooner, and the cap will be set by the ACCC."

Topics:  anthony albanese coalition malcolm turnbull national broadband network regional areas

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