Australia rules out NBN carve-up for now

Dylan Bushell-Embling
03 Oct 2014

The Australian government has rejected calls from a panel performing a cost-benefit analysis of the National Broadband Network to radically transform the project, at least at this time.

The Vertigan Committee carrying out the analysis has recommended that the government take drastic actions including splitting up NBN Co, the NBN’s operating company, and allowing the new companies to compete with each other, Fairfax Mediareported.

Other recommendations include selling off the company’s satellite and fixed wireless departments and abolishing laws preventing rival network operators to build their own fiber networks in competition of the NBN.

But while the Coalition government has announced it will discuss the report with the industry, it has ruled out the immediate introduction of some of the major recommendations on the grounds that they would have too big an impact on the budget and on taxpayers.

It has not ruled out breaking up NBN Co’s business units in future, but the government believes that breaking up the NBN at this time would only serve to further delay the rollout.

The NBN was conceived by the previous Labor government, and the Coalition was a vocal opponent of the project while in opposition. The cost-benefit analysis was one of the government’s pre-election pledges

While in government, the Coalition has already changed nature of the rollout from a FTTH network covering 93% of the population to a network using a mix of fiber, VDSL and fixed-wireless technologies.

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