The fall of Australia’s Labor government during the weekend's election means significant change for its wholesale National Broadband Network (NBN) plan and for the NBN Company (NBN Co) established to build and operate it.
Labor’s plan to extend fiber to the home (FTTH) to 93% of the market at a capital cost of A$37 billion ($34 billion) has foundered as significant delays have plagued the project. Some of these delays were outside the NBN Co’s control, but many were not.
Under the new government, a change in the technology mix is guaranteed, with fiber to the node (FTTN) taking a central role. More importantly, we foresee major changes to the operation of the NBN Co and its role in the project, with the incumbent Telstra also making an important contribution.
New emphasis on FTTN and competition
The NBN will remain a wholesale-only layer 2 network which will operate on a structurally separated basis. In contrast to the previous government, the new Coalition government is committed to a mixed technology network.
The remotest 7% of the market will be serviced with fixed TD-LTE and satellite, just as the previous government had proposed. But for the 93% of the market where fixed broadband is rolled out, the coalition government proposes 22% FTTH (comprising committed rollout contracts and greenfields sites) and 71% FTTN.
It currently aims to deliver the FTTN network in 2015, except where hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) is already available, and over the entire 71% footprint in 2019.