Mixed reaction to Coalition's broadband policy

The Coalition's broadband policy has received a mixed reaction from the press, politicians and the IT industry.

While some commentators have welcomed the proposed $6.3 billion public-private investment in wireless broadband, fibre and cable technologies, others believe the policy to be a backward step compared to Labor's National Broadband Network (NBN).

Tasmania's Premier, David Bartlett, pulled no punches with his reaction to the Coalition's policy.

Mr Bartlett said: "It's finally official. On the cusp of becoming the most connected place on the planet, Tony Abbott, with the silent complicity of the Tasmanian Liberals, is going to abandon Tasmania at the altar.

"Instead of setting up our state and our nation to compete and prosper in the 21st century, Mr Abbott will take us back to the technological dark ages – all in the name of political pettiness."

Matt Healey, the chairman of the Competitive Carriers Coalition, which represents small telecoms providers, was also less than impressed, calling the policy a "grab bag" of measures.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Healey said: ''None of those measures in the past have provided us with a 21st century telecoms network built on a competitive market, so we can't understand how it would deliver that this time around."

However, some commentators have picked up on the advantages of the Coalition's plan – the most obvious being the significantly reduced price.

Leading surgeon and medical media pioneer, Professor Andrew Renaut, told ZDNet: "I've always thought that Labor's NBN is very good, despite being jolly expensive, and while a cheaper solution may not be as good, it would probably suffice."

Professor Renault is a supporter of using broadband for medicine, and has been broadcasting operations to medical students over the internet for four years, according to the online news portal.

The professor added that either plan would be enough to advance the field of video surgery.

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