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Regional and Rural folk insist they subsidise the cities by providing cheap and high-quality food and wealth from mining. But city people resent paying the same price for services like broadband and other infrastructure that gets more expensive to provide the more sparse the population gets. Delivering the same outcomes in regional areas requires a bigger per capita spend than in the city. So who cross-subsidises who? – Jessica Irvine, Nick O’Malley and David Humphries
So often, the government with little or cursory debate rams through legislation, knowing it has the numbers. Government and Opposition backbenchers, and independents, are treated with disdain … A cross-bench of independents … holding the balance of power, seems to me the most satisfactory solution to what is currently a representative vacuum. – Peter Andren

Quotes

My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister [John Howard] explain where the parity of service is in the government’s wireless broadband proposal for regional Australia, when the 75 per cent of our population who live in the capital cities will enjoy optic fibre to the node internet speeds of 30 megabits per second, while the 25 per cent of Australians who live in rural areas will apparently only be able to access speeds of up to 12 megabits per second over wireless? Where will these country Australians, with their terrestrial network now privatised, be left standing as most developed countries adopt optic fibre to the home networks as the optimum technology for their future telecommunications needs? – Peter Andren, Monday, 18 June 2007, 2.51pm

One major step toward fair competition is the establishment of telecommunications infrastructure which is independent of service providers.  It is unlikely non-metropolitan Australia could sustain every service provider having its own infrastructure, so there is a role for government or independent wholesaler to provide that infrastructure as means of fostering greater competition in the retail sector.

Economic and social development in non-metropolitan areas hinges on telecommunications that are progressive and first class.  Without a robust telecommunications industry in non-metropolitan Australia it would be impossible to ensure jobs, health care, education and regional development. – Page Research Centre, Nationals Think Tank 2005

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