Conroy denies AU$90 billion NBN price tag

Conroy denies AU$90 billion NBN price tag

Summary: Claims that the NBN will cost AU$90 billion and run four years late have been dismissed by the communications minister as having 'no analysis or facts' behind them.


Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has fought back against claims by the Coalition government that the true cost of building the National Broadband Network (NBN) is AU$94 billion, stating that there is "no analysis or facts" behind the claim, and reiterating that the current corporate plan has a figure of $37.4 billion.

The $94 billion figure comes out of a leaked document, which is allegedly part of the Coalition's own broadband policy, according to News Limited. The document also states that the network will be finished four years late, in 2025.

The Coalition's policy on broadband is expected to be released this week.

Conroy admitted to ABC's AM program on Monday morning that there had been setbacks in the NBN rollout, but that the current three-month delay could be made up over the next few years and do not represent a four year delay.

"This is not that the 10 years has been 'blown out', as the Opposition are claiming today. They are claiming today it's going to take 'til 2025. They have no analysis behind these claims; no analysis or facts behind $90 billion, no analysis or facts behind 2025 as a finish date," he told ABC AM.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull only last month said that the NBN could take "in excess of 20 years" to complete. His speech to Parliament came as NBN Co's rollout figures showed that it was lagging behind its target figures for June.

NBN Co had previously revised its costs and completion schedule when it updated its corporate plan in August last year. The new plan showed a 3.9 percent increase in capital costs to $37.4 billion, and a six-month extension to the construction timetable to bring it to June 2021.

Upon hearing allegations of a cost and schedule blow out, the Australian Industry Group (AIG) urged the government to conduct a rigorous cost-benefit analysis to see if the $90 billion figure rang true, but without withdrawing its support for the NBN.

"It's a project that the business community broadly supports, as long as it's done properly and with the proper costings in place," AIG boss Innes Willox told ABC Radio on Monday.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government, Government AU, Australia

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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  • Why not just round it off to a nice neat $100B and be done with it...*sigh*

    As someone said over at Delimiter...

    It appears $90B needs to be the Coalition's number... not because it's factual but because they have said all along their's would be about 1/4 - 1/3 of the price.

    So with their plan supposedly soon to be released, guess what that means?
  • Maybe one day

    It doesn't matter where you stand on cost benefit analysis, public vs private funding, left or right wing.

    What people need to all accept and agree on, is that the NBN needs to be FTTH. All this bulldust about VDSL, and FTTN, and Wireless.. NONE of them are a long term solution to high speed broadband. ALL of them except FTTH will have to be replaced in probably less than 10 years.
    Next, realise that NONE of them can be deployed faster than the current NBN. Anyone who says otherwise is just lying, or ignorant of the challenges that are faced.
    • You are totally right gr1f, obviously it is a waste of time and money to implementing substandard stop gap solutions however of more concern is that the coalitions plan is unlikely to commit to any fibre rollout except for what is already in the works. I think even those vehemently opposed to the proper NBN plan can agree that this is a glaring issue that needs to be addressed so the big question is once the coalition release their "plan" will they go into full apologist mode or attempt to gain some credibility on this topic, we will see...
      Hubert Cumberdale
    • maintenance costs

      FTTN has issues of ongoing maintenance that get swept under the rug when doing the costings.