updated 04:25 pm EST, Fri November 26, 2010
Historic bill passes Australian Senate
The Australian Government's controversial high-speed National Broadband Network (NBN)is one step closer to reality after key legislation underpinning it passed through Senate lawmakers. The legislation is designed to deliver a 100Mbps fiber-to-the-home network that will provide the backbone of Australia's communications infrastructure at a cost of $35.7 billion AUD ($35 billion US). Central to the legislation is the splitting of Telstra's wholesale and retail arms helping to break its monopoly on Australia's communication network.
The legislation must now go to the lower house, where it is expected to be passed next week by Prime Minister Julia Gillard's minority center-left Labor government. The Labor government's Communications Minister Stephen Conroy described the NBN as the holy grail of micro-economic reform.
The plan will see the state-owned network lay around 3,700 miles of fiber optic cable across regional Australia and which will deliver broadband internet access to across the country and to an additional 400,000 Australians. It will create additional retail competition in the broadband space in over 100 cities and towns.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has promoted a plan dubbed 100 Squared, which aims to deliver a similar fiber network in the US. [via WSJ]