Wendouree, Alfredton, Cardigan, Redan, Delacombe and Sebastopol could receive an upgraded National Broadband Network service under a future Shorten government.
In a pitch to younger voters, universities and businesses, Labor has promised a move away from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's cut-price part-copper NBN and to connect an extra two million homes and businesses by June 2022.
Under the policy proposal, a Labor government would "scale up" the fibre-to-the-node service, which relies on copper for the last connection, to a full fibre-to-the-premises system, with the former to be "phased out", according to Mr Shorten during a Monday announcement.
Internet Australia chair George Fong said the announcement marks an opportunity to campaign for an upgrade to the outlined FTTN service set for several Ballarat suburbs, with much of the city already connected with FTTP.
Wendouree, Alfredton, Cardigan, Redan, Delacombe and Sebastopol are all earmarked for an FTTN service, with works to begin in 2017.
Mr Fong said there will be long-term ramifications if Ballarat’s NBN is to be run across split technologies and said an eventual move away from any copper-based service is inevitable.
“We don’t want to have split infrastructure across Ballarat. My view is firmly that we’re going to have replace the copper at some stage,” he said.
“This is why we need to keep the pressure up in Ballarat and say lets go down this path (with FTTP).”
Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield questioned both Labor’s promise to cap the cost of the NBN at $57 billion – $1 billion more than the Coalition's NBN – as well as its ability to roll out the service by 2022.
“The last time the NBN looked at how much it would cost to do Labor’s FTTP rollout, NBN found it would cost around $30 billion more and would take six to eight years longer,” he said.
“Now Labor are out today saying that there will be little additional cost and that Labor’s roll out will be finished at roughly the same time - it’s a magic pudding.”
Meanwhile, NBN is currently trialing a cheaper fibre system in Ballarat that would serve as an alternative to any copper-based service.
Last month The Courier contacted NBN for a status update on performance, with officials declining to comment.
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