NBN faces $6b blowout: Aust opposition

Dylan Bushell-Embling
07 Dec 2011

Australia's opposition party has launched a fresh attack against the viability of the government's planned National Broadband Network, while network opco NBN Co has revealed plans to freeze wholesale prices for five years.

Malcolm Turnbull, shadow minister for communications and broadband, has alleged that the NBN project faces an A$6 billion ($6.16 billion) cost blowout compared to initial projections of $23 billion.

Turnbull alleged that analyst projections show that the government's deals with Telstra and SingTel subsidiary Optus for their retail customers and some network infrastructure would end up costing A$19 billion and A$2 billion respectively in operating expenses, instead of the A$11 billion and A$800 million budgeted for.

The opposition Coalition has long been an opponent of the NBN project, a government-funded initiative to connect a wholesale FTTH network to 93% of the Australian population.

The Coalition argues the project is too expensive, and that few Australians currently need the 100Mbps to 1Gbps plans that will be offered.

The opposition has threatened to scrap the NBN project in favor of a far cheaper but far less ambitious plan to use a mix of FTTC, wireless and DSL upgrades to provide 12Mbps speeds to 97% of the population.

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