Australia to assign extra $14.3b to NBN project

21 Nov 2016

The Australian government has been forced to commit an extra A$19.5 billion ($14.3 billion) towards the construction of the National Broadband Network.

The government will provide the funds in the form of a loan to the state-owned company overseeing the national rollout, nbn.

In May, the government estimated that it would cost between an additional A$16.5 billion and A$26.5 billion to complete construction of the network. But the government had initially intended to raise the extra funds from private sector investment.

The loan is expected to be repaid upon the planned future privatization of NBN Co after 2020, Fifield said.

But the Coalition government has been subject to much criticism for its policy to change the NBN rollout from a predominately FTTH deployment as envisioned under the previous Labor government to a multi-technology mix involving less robust and future-proof standards.

At the same time, costs of the multi-technology NBN rollout have simultaneously been allowed costs to creep beyond the initial estimates for a nearly all-FTTP network.

While the Coalition had intended to cap the government's investment in the network at A$29.5 billion, this contribution is expected to run out in the current financial year, according to communications minister Mitch Fifield.

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