Australia Expands Fiber Internet Network Footprint



Read more about key players in Australia's upcoming elections.

CANBERRA—Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Friday unveiled an expanded footprint for a planned national high-speed fiber Internet network that will now reach 93% of homes and businesses, up from 90% previously.

The network is a defining policy for Gillard’s ruling center-left Labor government ahead of an Aug. 21 general election.

But the program isn’t universally loved, even though it is popular with many voters. Australia’s main conservative Liberal-National opposition coalition has questioned the need for such an expensive service and has threatened to scrap the plan if it returns to power.

See major events in the tenure of Australia's Labor government.

“The national broadband network is about building a modern economy. Without it, Australian businesses won’t be able to compete with those in Japan, Korea or Singapore,” Ms. Gillard said Friday.

The government says its new network will provide much more than telecom services and aid in the delivery of health and education services to remote communities, among other benefits.

The network will offer speeds of 100 megabits per second—100 times faster than many Australians experience currently.

But opposition leader Tony Abbott argues the network, which the government estimates could cost up to 43 billion Australian dollars ($38.8 billion) to build, is a costly “white elephant” that would create a new nationalized communications monopoly.

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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