Malcolm Turnbull criticises NBN

Former Liberal Party leader Malcolm Turnbull has criticised Labor's National Broadband Network (NBN) in his new position as shadow Communications Minister.

Mr Turnbull is noted for his involvement in the technology sector, having been the chair of Australian Internet Service Provider (ISP), OzEmail. In 1999, Mr Turnbull sold his stake in the ISP for a reported $60 million.

"Nobody is more committed to availability of high speed internet access than me," Mr Turnbull said in a statement.

But despite his background, the self-confessed "internet junkie" has backed the Liberals' opposition of the National Broadband Network (NBN) strongly.

Mr Turnbull said: "What little we know of the economics of this network is sufficient to assure us that the NBN as currently conceived will destroy billions of dollars of taxpayers' money.

"At the heart of this issue is not a question of technologies, but a question of democracy itself.

"What price democracy, accountability, transparency or the new 'sunshine' era of Federal Parliament if a $43 billion investment can be embarked on by Government without any financial analysis capable of demonstrating the money will be well spent?"

Mr Turnbull assured Australians that the government does have a role to play in ensuring broadband access in all regions. However, this role should be in promoting competition and addressing areas where the market has failed to reach.

He criticised the new 'roll-in' plan for the NBN, which will see rural regions receiving the fibre network before the metropolitan areas, as a result of negotiations with the independent MPs who handed Labor another term in power.

"That's no doubt beneficial for internet users in whichever rural regions Labor plans to favour first, but bad news for consumers in other under-served areas such as the outer suburbs," Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Turnbull called on Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to be "honest" about the impact of the negotiations on the cost of the NBN.