THE Government proposes to facilitate the construction of a new national fibre-optic communications network.
This high-speed broadband infrastructure will carry internet-based telephony, television channels and a range of innovative services, and offer affordable transmission of very large data files including medical images, university research, music, games and video. The project cost is estimated at $43 billion, construction will take about 10 years and the ultimate non-government ownership will be settled in about 15 years.
The customers of this network will be retailers of communications products, mainly other telecommunications companies and hundreds of internet service providers.
The business model is analogous to that of the electricity industry, with the proposed broadband network similar to the transmission wires, and ISPs akin to energy retailers who own the customer relationships. The eventual beneficiaries will be all households and Australian businesses, through improved direct access or as a result of a more competitive market.