Coalition reveals broadband policy

The Coalition has unveiled its alternative to Labor's National Broadband Network, pledging high-speed broadband networks of between 12Mbps and 100Mbps for 97% of homes.

Finance spokesman Andrew Robb and communications spokesman Tony Smith revealed the Coalition will scrap the Fibre To The Home (FTTH) network that is the cornerstone of Labor's $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN), replacing it with a combination of technologies.

The Coalition proposes upgrading HFC cable, wireless, satellite and copper phone wire technologies, while also investing $2.75 billion in a fibre optic 'backbone' by 2017.

A further $1 billion will be spent on improving regional wireless networks, with speeds of 12Mbps.

"Together, these components will ensure that 97 per cent of the population has a baseline minimum of 12Mbps," shadow broadband minister Tony Smith told a press conference.

If elected, the party would spend $6.3 billion on improving Australia's broadband infrastructure, in total.

The plan will be largely private-sector based, in contrast to Labor's public-sector NBN plan.

Work has already begun on the NBN, with homes and businesses connected in some parts of Tasmania.

Mr Smith said the completed parts of the NBN could be sold off to the private sector.

Labor plans to connect 93% of Australians to the fibre optic network, which will allow speeds of up to 100Mbps, with the remainder receiving improved wireless mobile and satellite broadband services.