Labor has seized on revelations the Coalition has booted 500,000 households off the National Broadband Network roll-out map.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull claims those affected are actually the victims of Labor’s “lies and spin”.
“(The Labor government) had a metric which said that construction had commenced at the point plans were called for,” he told Network Ten on Sunday.
“This is the equivalent of saying you had started construction on a new house, from the moment you called your architect and asked her to do a sketch plan.”
Deputy Labor Tanya Plibersek hit back accusing the Abbott government of a breaking an election promise not to rip up existing contracts.
“Instead of getting top quality, state-of-the-art national broadband network fibre to the premises, they will get instead the poor cousin,” she told reporters in Sydney.
Mr Turnbull has also vowed to take marginal seats out of the equation during the roll-out of the NBN.
Mr Turnbull says a survey is underway to identify parts of Australia with the worst broadband.
“(Places) where the need for upgrade is greatest, they will be prioritised,” Mr Turnbull said.
Another priority will be areas where demand for high-speed internet is greatest, such as business and industrial parks.
Asked if he would change the previous focus on marginal seats, Mr Turnbull said: “Yes”.
“The NBN Co has to start being operated … like a rational business that seeks to do its job as quickly and cost-effectively as possible,” he said.
Mr Turnbull declined to comment on whether there had been legal claims lodged over asbestos scares at NBN construction sites.
Last week Prime Minister Tony Abbott ruled out overturning the ban on Chinese telecom giant Huawei tendering for work on the NBN.
Mr Turnbull said the decision was a question of “managing risk”.
“Other companies and other countries have taken different judgments,” he said.
He admitted that Huawei had in the past undercut the prices of western telco suppliers but stopped short of saying it would be cheaper to build the NBN with Huawei’s involvement.
Mr Turnbull said Vodafone and Optus used Huawei equipment in their Australian networks and they would attest that it worked properly and was cheaper.
“These are things you’ve got to weigh up,” he said.