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Shorten to detail high risk fibre plan

CANBERRA – Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said yesterday that he would provide a revamped broadband policy ahead of warnings of a potential $8.5 billion cost blowout if Labor were to press ahead with plans for a full-fibre National Broadband Network.

Shorten has promised a “first-rate fibre” network, which technology experts say must comprise high-speed cables running direct into as many premises as possible.

However, news reports say the federal Finance Department has warned of a “negative impact” on the budget if the Government were to implement the fibre-heavy model adopted under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

Shorten, when asked yesterday whether a “first-rate” scheme necessarily involved fibre-to-the-premises throughout the network, said: “We’ll be announcing our NBN policy in the coming weeks, but it’ll be a good NBN plan.”

He added: “The future of this country relies upon strong regions, connected not only to our cities, but to the world.”

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