Hartsuyker warns thousands in bush won't get basic broadband
NATIONALS Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker says tens of thousands of regional Australians will be unable to access a basic broadband service.
He made this announcement after NBN Co chief executive officer Mike Quigley confirmed the cap on how many people can access the interim satellite service would not be lifted.
Mr Quigley made the admission at a public hearing before the Joint Standing Committee on the NBN.
As Shadow Minister for Regional Communications, Mr Hartsuyker said the admission the cap would remain at 48,000 if the target is reached as expected in early 2014 was "beyond belief."
"Mr Quigley has effectively confirmed that if you aren't one of the first 48,000 to apply for the interim satellite service then you miss out," he said.
"This will leave tens of thousands of regional Australians high and dry, unable to access a basic broadband service.
"Anyone applying for an interim satellite service after the cap has been reached will have to wait until at least 2015 before they can be connected.
"The Government is effectively treating these people as second class citizens.
"People applying for a satellite service have no other option if they need access to a broadband service.
"It's not as if there isn't additional capacity available.
"Industry insiders have indicated to me there is substantial satellite capacity available at commercially competitive prices.
"So how can the Government justify denying these people access to broadband service for another two years?
"This will impact on people in remote areas but it will also have an effect on thousands of people who live close to town but can't access wireless or fixed line broadband services."
Mr Hartsuyker said the Coalition is committed to identifying broadband black spots and targeting regional areas with substandard internet services.
"Our plan will see real improvements in the broadband speeds of regional areas which have suffered under Labor's neglect," he added.
"We'll do it in a way that's more affordable for local families and businesses."