[LINK] Abbott against wireless in 1990s

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Fri Aug 20 18:55:18 AEST 2010

[Can it get more comical?]

Abbott accused of double broadband standard

August 20, 2010 - 3:00AM

THE case of the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, for wireless to 
deliver broadband internet has been undermined by revelations he was 
a vocal opponent of many mobile phone towers during the 1990s, Labor claims.

Widespread use of wireless would require a significant number of new 
transmission towers if it is to meet the Coalition's commitment on speed.

While the opposition has refused to say how many towers would be 
needed, some industry figures have speculated more than 1000 may be required.

As an opposition backbencher in 1994 and 1995, Mr Abbott spoke 
against the location of many mobile phone towers, which he said were 
''sprouting like mushrooms in the cities and towns of our country''.

Addressing Parliament on September 18, 1995, Mr Abbott said: ''I say 
to everyone living in suburban Australia, 'Whether you like it or 
not, there is now a mobile phone tower near you.'

''This is the downside of the mobile phone revolution - an ugly 
thicket of poles and wires, a whole series of electronic pogo sticks 
which now blight Australia's suburban streetscapes.''

A spokesman for the Labor campaign said the comments showed Mr Abbott 
did not understand his own policy.

"The reality is that the Coalition's policy would result in thousands 
of towers being constructed in suburbs and towns across Australia.

"If he becomes PM, these eyesores will now be springing up all across 
the country - on every other street corner, next to playgrounds, 
bowling clubs and on playing fields.''

Mr Abbott's office did not respond to a request for comment, but a 
Coalition source pointed out that modern towers are less of an 
eyesore than their predecessors, and all new towers would have to 
meet planning regulations.

The opposition has sought to quell concerns over a separate aspect of 
its $2 billion wireless plan, providing assurances that the necessary 
spectrum would be available.

The opposition communications spokesman, Tony Smith, pointed to 
surplus spectrum in regional areas leased by telcos, in particular 
pay television provider Austar, as well as the spectrum liberated by 
the switch from analog to digital television.

''Spectrum is tradeable, so they may well wish to trade it to another 
player who is able to use that spectrum to deliver the service,'' Mr 
Smith told ABC's Lateline on Wednesday night.

Speaking in a Lateline debate with Mr Smith, the Minister for 
Communications, Stephen Conroy, sought to quash the notion that the 
opposition's wireless plan would allow people to get a service away 
from their premises.

''They are building a fixed wireless network,'' he said. ''You will 
not be able to pick your laptop up and go for a walk into your street 
and use a fixed-line network.''

While the Australian Communications and Media Authority has said that 
over the next five years demand for spectrum may outstrip supply, 
mobile broadband operators argue there is plenty of spectrum 
available that has been allocated to companies but not used.

''There is huge chunks of spectrum available,'' the chief executive 
of BigAir, Jason Ashton, said.

''Anyone who suggests there is not is kidding themselves.''

With Lucy Battersby

This story was found at: 

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

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