Conroy reaches deal to push broadband bills through parliament
- Rural MPs approve
- NBN prices to be kept consistent across all areas
- Distance to no longer be a disadvantage
Following a week of a drawn out debate with the Coalition, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has managed to reach a deal with key independents to get two crucial broadband bills through parliament.
As part of the deal, the Federal Government has promised to keep the National Broadband Network (NBN) prices consistent in all regions where possible.
"The price for NBN Co's entry level service must be the same across Australia and across NBN Co's fibre, wireless and satellite networks," a modified explanatory memorandum stated.
"However, the prices for higher-speed services only need to be uniform within a specified technology, and not across all technologies."
MP’s in rural areas had feared the clause would mean those in rural areas would once again be paying a higher price for access to fast broadband. However, key independents, Rob Oakshott, Tony Windsor, Andrew Wilkie and Greens’ Adam Bandt have agreed to the creation of a "community impact statement... on all future policy decisions on technology, speed and/or price to assess impacts and opportunities on those unable to be serviced by fibre to the premises".
Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor have expressed the amendment as a win for their constituents.
"The NBN is potentially the greatest piece of regional infrastructure in this country," Windsor said.
"This is one piece of infrastructure that actually negates distance as being a disadvantage."
The deal comes amid news of possible delays to the NBN, and fears the fast speeds will mean an increase of internet piracy.