Wed, 23 Mar 2011 - 00:46
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Fletcher appointed to Parliamentary Joint Committee to Oversee NBN

Member for Bradfield Paul Fletcher has been appointed to the newly constituted Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network.

Fletcher, a former Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at Optus, and author of “Wired Brown Land: Telstra’s Battle for Broadband” (UNSW Press, 2009), has been in Parliament just over a year.

The committee comprises members from all parties and both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

It will have a continuing oversight role, not just while legislation regarding the NBN is going through the Parliament, but while the NBN is being built. 

Of the four Coalition appointees from the House of Representatives, all are front benchers apart from Fletcher.

“The NBN is a highly controversial plan.  It will be entirely taxpayer funded – at a cost of up to $50 billion – and one hundred per cent government owned,” Mr Fletcher said.

“Yet Labor has consistently refused to conduct a cost-benefit study – to explain why for instance we need the hugely expensive fibre to the home (which costs around $5,000 per home connected) rather than much less expensive technologies such as fibre to the node (which is capable of delivering 40 Mbps).”

“I welcome the chance to participate in this committee.  I’ve been involved in telecommunications policy since the mid-nineties – when I joined the staff of then Minister for Communications Richard Alston – and so I hope to be able to offer some useful perspectives as the Committee does its work.”