Liberals may lose votes over planned scrapping of National Broadband Network

The National Broadband Network could be a significant vote winner for Labor, with 62% of respondents to an online survey admitting the scheme would influence their vote in favour of the government.

According to a poll from Compare Broadband, 88% of respondents said the National Broadband Network (NBN) would affect which party they voted for in the upcoming election.

When asked the question, 'Is the Liberals' plan to scrap the $43 billion NBN influencing who you vote for?' a massive 62% of the 604 voters said, 'No - I disagree with the Liberals, the NBN should be kept.' 26% said, 'Yes - I agree with the Liberals, the NBN should be scrapped', while only 12% felt the issue, 'doesn't influence me either way.'

Compare Broadband's General Manager, Scott Kennedy, when asked about the poll's result, said: "The majority of our users who are everyday Australians looking for a better broadband deal clearly want a faster broadband network.

"Without getting too political, I'm surprised neither party has made this an election issue. The Liberals have stated their intention to scrap the NBN but not disclosed an alternative which, as the poll suggests, is important to voters."

In what looks likely to be a tight election race, this could be seen as a boost for the Labor Party, which has recently seen a dip in popularity among voters.

The Coalition has yet to deliver a definitive broadband plan, but has held up the $43 billion project as an example of wasteful Labor spending. Shadow Communications spokesman Tony Smith has labelled the scheme "reckless and risky".

The National Broadband Network has not been a major focus in the electoral debate so far, but it looks like Labor will begin pushing the point soon in order to regain lost ground.

Recent take-up of the first NBN optical fibre rollout in Tasmania has seen 50% of customers in three towns signing up for the service, which Communications Minister Stephen Conroy claims is an endorsement for the scheme. However, Senator Conroy has also admitted that current fibre broadband prices are likely to rise in the state once the national network has been rolled out.

In an update on the NBN last week, the Prime Minister said the fibre network would be rolled out to an extra 300,000 properties, extending its reach to 93% of the population. The remaining 7% of Australians will benefit from improved wireless mobile broadband and satellite services, according to the government.