Turnbull confirms NBN will honour contracts

CONFUSION surrounding the Federal Liberals' Tasmanian NBN plans ended yesterday when communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull pulled rank over the newly launched Economic Growth Plan for Tasmania.

Mr Turnbull confirmed a previous pledge honouring all existing contracts signed by NBN Co to roll out Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) in Tasmania as ``the alternative would be to breach them and that is a course we would not countenance''.

As NBN Co has all of its Tasmanian contracts in place, it effectively means whatever the election result, all houses and businesses planned to receive FttP will receive it.

The Liberal commitment was brought into question when leader Tony Abbott's Economic Growth Plan for Tasmania stated it would only honour contracts ``that are under way''.

Communications Minister Anthony Albanese seized on the change, saying it would create a state of ``broadband haves and have nots''.

Franklin MHR Julie Collins said under either Liberal plan, homes would miss out.

``There's 120,000 homes and premises under construction now, under contract, under way, but 85,000 Tasmanian premises will miss out,'' Ms Collins said.

That was contradicted by TasICT chief executive Dean Winter, who said contracts were in place to roll out all of Labor's originally proposed FttP NBN across the state.

Tasmanian Senator David Bushby also dismissed Ms Collins by saying the Liberals had costed their policy on Labor's full Tasmanian roll-out, confirming  it would honour Mr Turnbull's earlier pledge to fulfil all contracts.

``In opposition, we're not fully  au fait with what those contracts are, but we understand that those contracts are in place to roll out right across the state, and if that is the case, we will honour that,'' Senator Bushby said.

Mr Turnbull also said  a reference to completing the broadband rollout by 2019 was the national plan rather than the 2015 date for Tasmania. 

Mr Winter welcomed the Liberal clarification from Mr Turnbull.

Malcolm Turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull