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The plan to make Australians one of the most wired people in the world with uniform Internet access is made more challenging by the vast and scarcely populated Outback, which separates the major coastal cities.

The conservative opposition argues the plan is too expensive.

The opposition Liberal Party went to elections in August last year promising to deliver a smaller, slower _ but much less expensive _ AU$6 billion network with a range of technologies, including optical fiber, wireless and DSL.