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Coalition telecommunications policies provide real savings for households
The latest consumer price index confirms that our Liberal National Government’s telecommunications policies are driving down prices and providing real savings for households. In the September quarter, while the overall CPI was up by 1.6%, telecommunications prices fell by 0.8%. This means that in real terms – that is, after inflation - telecommunications prices dropped 2.3% over the quarter.
If we look at the effect of our telecommunications policies since we came to Government, the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that telecommunications prices have fallen by 25% since 2013. In real terms, they are down 33%.
Coalition policies helping to reduce telecommunications prices include:
- Delivering the NBN rollout (and turning around the failing project we inherited from Labor in 2013) – we’ve connected over 7.7 million premises in seven years, with connections currently running at around 20,000 per week ;
- Using the HFC networks to supply 2.5 million premises with fast broadband that are being upgraded to supply at speeds close to 1 gigabit per second (1000 megabits per second);
- Investing $380 million in the mobile black spot program;
- Investing $83 million in the regional connectivity program;
- Allocating more radio frequency spectrum for mobile communications; and
- Continuing to reduce the regulatory burden on the telecommunications industry.
These policies are providing real benefits to households from lower priced, better quality and more innovative telecommunications services.
By contrast, telecommunications prices increased by 5% over the 2007-2013 period of the last Labor government. This was because Labor’s policies reduced competition and created an environment of investment uncertainty that stifled innovation and increased prices.
Labor policies from 2007 to 2013 that increased telecommunications prices included:
- Procrastinating with building the NBN, connecting barely 51000 premises to the fixed network in 6 years while spending $6 billion;
- Shutting down two perfectly good HFC networks;
- Fighting with Telstra and threatening to deny them access to spectrum used to operate mobile services; and
- Imposing onerous anti-competitive and inefficient regulations on the industry, such as not allowing firms to operate at both the retail and wholesale level of the market.
The latest CPI data highlights the stark contrast between Labor’s approach to telecommunications and that of the Coalition. Under Labor, telecommunications prices were up 5%. Under the Coalition, they are down by 25%.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics. CAT 6401. CPI measured from September 2013 to September 2020 and scaled to the Telecommunications CPI at September 2013.