NBN Co plan may not be released before the election

NBN Co plan may not be released before the election

Summary: Communications Minister Anthony Albanese has signalled that the long-awaited NBN business plan will not be released before the election.


In a late-night showdown with Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Communications Minister Anthony Albanese has said that NBN Co is still preparing its new corporate plan, and indicated that it would not be released prior to the election.

(Image: Screenshot by Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

The corporate plan — which updates the government on the state of the project and the forecasts for revenue, spending, and rollout targets for the National Broadband Network (NBN) — was originally supposed to be given to the government for consideration in May. ZDNet asked NBN Co in July whether the document had been completed, but NBN Co did not respond.

On Lateline last night, Albanese said that NBN Co has yet to complete the new corporate plan to be submitted to Cabinet for consideration. He indicated that this would likely mean that it will not be released to the public before the election on September 7.

"If we receive it, it has got to go through the Cabinet, and we're in caretaker mode," he said. "We have not received the final business plan."

Turnbull said that Albanese is keeping the document in draft format to hide potential cost blowouts and delays in the delivery of the fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) network.

"You've kept the draft stamp in it so they don't have to produce it before the election," he said.

"You've got a time bomb ticking away in that. You've got a confession from the company that they're failing, and you do not want to let the public know."

Albanese said the entire corporate plan process has always been transparent and the processes have been disclosed to the public. However, NBN Co has previously blocked access to documents relating to the corporate plan.

In the draft 2012 corporate plan submitted to Cabinet by NBN Co last year, the company had considered altering the policy for the delivery of the NBN to apartment blocks and other multi-dwelling units to a fibre-to-the-basement policy. This was rejected by the Cabinet, and removed from the public document released in August.

ZDNet sought access to this document under Freedom of Information, but NBN Co refused to release the document on the grounds that it would reveal Cabinet deliberations. An appeal of this decision is currently being reviewed by the Information Commissioner.

The 27-minute debate between the two politicians may be the last before the election next month. The Coalition is still keen on holding a debate at the National Press Club in Canberra, and Turnbull had originally proposed tomorrow as the day for the debate to be held. Albanese has so far not committed to a specific date for the debate, but Turnbull's office confirmed to ZDNet that it has offered any day over the next fortnight for the debate between the two politicians to be held at the National Press Club.

Topics: NBN, Government, Government AU


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • "may not be released"?

    There is three quarters of five eighths of sweet FA chance of Labor telling the truth before the election!
  • It can't be released.

    The news must be so bad for Albanese that it would be like shooting himself in the foot if he was to release that report. Nice to see the Conroy screw-up lives on.
  • More bad news

    "Alarms may not work with NBN"


    And this is from Labor's beloved Fairfax, so the anti-Murdoch brigade need to calm-down.
    • First discussed here Nov 2012


      Funny to read the tailback responses dismissing the concerns (usual suspects RS,HC,AA,Visionary,etc).

      From your smh link (thanks BTW)

      "The committee is working on a retailer guide that will set out protocols to ensure OTT services can be discovered and operational after NBN services are installed. He hopes it will be finalised soon."

      Years into the project and a guide still hasn't been produced. Fortunately given the rollout speed not many have yet been affected.

      "An NBN Co spokesman said a test bed dubbed the Plug Bench was being set up in Melbourne for suppliers to test their equipment on a range of NBN retail service providers. ''We are making final preps and expect it to go live later in August.''"

      Plug bench still not available from NBNCo; what do their 3k employees actually do?

      Yet another failure.
      Richard Flude
  • so why not release the draft report Albo?

    Or are you too terrified of what it contains?
    Christo the Daddyo
    • Little tip in its title

      ... its a DRAFT report, not a final report. No agency in their right mind releases draft reports unless they are seeking feedback. Which isnt the case here.

      They release it, then change it, you lemmings will simply attack them again on that basis. Get over yourselves, its not going to make one iota of difference when it comes out. People have decided how they are going to vote, and the release or non-release of a draft document isnt going to change that.
  • ACCC

    The ACCC Determination is yet to be released and that WILL impact on the report
    Abel Adamski
    • Then they can include that in their corporate plan

      As they have with other pending decisions I'm the past (eg Telstra duct negotiations) and we do in the remainder of the business world all the time.

      Their performance is obviously failing to meet either of the first two corp plan projections by a huge margin; the only protection (as pathetically transparent as it is and not supported by any of the other data release by the company) for their "rollout continues to be on time and budget" is they've not released the latest revision.

      The post election audit will be fascinating reading, many at NBNCo should be very worried.
      Richard Flude
  • Transcript reads like the fanboy posts

    Albo has no idea about his portfolio; speeds, capex/opex, peak borrowing, 1gbps backhaul, accountancy reviews and audits, retail pricing, etc.

    It was difficult to watch; RS, HC, delimiter post material. Clowns.

    Reading Albo's answers isn't much better:
    Richard Flude
  • NBN Legislation prescribes report presentation.

    The NBN legislation prescribes the reporting regime and as a Statutory Authority it is obliged to meet the reporting requirements specified in the establishing legislation, there is a parliamentary committee that receives these reports that oversees the reporting requirements. There is an election coming in under 30 days and there are no parliamentary committee's operating.
    The next NBN report is not due until the 1st September so there is no argument about "hiding or deception" applicable until the date of the issue of the NBN report under the requirements of the act.
    Start the debate on the 2nd of September, but remember the report is presented to the parliamentary committee which will obviously not be sitting.
    Kevin Cobley
    • To which Act and Section do you refer?

      NATIONAL BROADBAND NETWORK COMPANIES ACT 2011 (NO. 22, 2011) says nothing even remotely like your comments.

      Part 4 of the Act covers reporting and Sec 82 of that Part covers the needs for a Corporate Plan. All that Sec 82 says is that there is a need for a CP and it needs to give a copy to the Comm's and Finance Ministers. The Act says nothing about getting approval of any person nor any committee.

      I've only had time for a quick read of the Act, both nothing that I have so far read stops the CP from being released.

      You can read it here:
    • Albo confused the corp plan revision

      With the EFY results (deliberately?).

      The corp plan obviously needs tevision; targets missed by a huge margin. This revision was due in June. The draft is with the minister, it could be released anytime. But obviously won't be before the election; labor modus operandi.

      The post election audit will be very enlightening.
      Richard Flude
  • Today's PEFO show $1.6b additional liabilities

    "The federal government would have to pay $4.8 billion in liabilities if the national broadband network (NBN) is terminated, despite rollout delays."

    The total does NOT include the last minute contracts NBNCo signed before caretaker conventions kicked in.

    We'll be paying for this govt longer after they've been kicked out:-(
    Richard Flude
  • A great history of Rudd's NBN

    "Telstra's windfall is the product of the extraordinary deal it extracted from Rudd only days before he was ousted as PM. Similarly NBN Co's probable failure to reach even this derisory revenue target after more than four years is all down to Rudd and his arrogance in believing a government start-up company could rebuild 220,000km of the national telecommunications network in eight years."

    48% of Australians are prepared to give this clown another go. Amazing:-(
    Richard Flude
  • Not all Australians are mindless labor/coalition voting zombies

    Well isn't that obvious. A lot of the population feels they have to choose between a clown and another clown. Only the blind loyal coalition and labor supporters feel that there leader is actually any good.

    As a swinging voter, its pretty clear to me both parties are lying and as incompetent as each other.
    There is a very real possibility that the Coalition wins this election and is ousted in 3 years because the public realises they were as full of hot air as labor was.

    Its all well and good to post conspiracy theories about why a report has not been released etc etc. But the coalition are as guilty of this with their FTTN plan. They've only given us words and very little technical or procedural detail. Upload speeds? will 25 MBps be guaranteed and if so, what happens when its not met. How much is it going to cost to continue upgrading, maintenance of copper, costs to upgrade to fibre if the premise wants fibre.

    Meanwhile they want to cut business tax, which only affects some people, expensive maternity plan which benefits women who are on higher wages and more able to actually afford having a child in the first place. At least the NBN will benefit just about everyone.

    The way things are going in this country with both political parties treating people like idiots and they wonder why it was a hung parliament last time. It all about winning votes and fighting over things like boat people and the NBN, which is the on that baffles me. If Howard came up with this plan in 2005 you'd all be jumping on it like it was the best thing ever. Problem is it came from Labor so now its a political plaything to argue over.
    Justin Watson
    • "...as incompetent as each other"

      I agree with many of your points, I too are not keen to see the continual expansion of govt eg Abbott's obscene maternity scheme. I too have been very critically Howard govt middle class welfare and its expansion of govt.

      But I can't remember a govt with the record of incompetence of this one. You'd have to go back to Whitlam; even the number and scale mistakes under Rudd/Gillard is remarkable.

      Compare the Liberal NBNLite plan with the press release Labor took to the elections, the not a cent more than $4.6b (now over $44b and climbing). Look at the rollout performance.

      The corp plan should l've been released in July, and will be very shortly after the election. All will be revealed.

      Vite for who who you like; but to describe this govt is only as incompetent as others defies history. Blaming those in opposition (without the resources of govt) for the govt failures rather strange.

      Six years of Labor; 160k with fibre, billions wasted. Hundred thousands of boat arrivals costing billions, thousand died at sea. Debt ceiling raised to $300b to be reached by Xmas, every year a deficit, promised surpluses out by tens of billions. Pink batt program killed 4 young Australians, burnt hundred+ homes, billions more spent to repair billion spent, warnings ignored by cabinet. Mining tax that creates no revenue but destroyed our reputation. Billions pumped into overpriced school halls, most well after the GFC was know not of affect us, student performance continues to decline. Changes to the R&D tax concession not even explanable by AusIndustry. Billion in subsidies to inefficient car industry for their union mates, an industry that continues to lay off staff, produce cars nobody wants (eg Rudd hybrid Camry), multiples of costs overseas. Failed media restrictions. Moves to make political discussion in the workplace a crime. Their revolting history facing charges (Thomson, Slipper,Williams) and under police investigation (Gillard, the PM no less). The endless spin (Govt changing positions and spinning as if that'd always been their position)...
      Richard Flude
  • What is it about/Value for money

    IMO the focus on the 1Gb at this time, especially for domestic use is pointless, in fact IMO counter productive as the voter sees it as "Gold Plating" even though just demonstrating the flexibility inherent with FTTP .
    The 1Gb was always in the NBN plan but for business along with the 250 and 500 So not in response to GOOGLE even though the media waffle over Google's superior 1Gb meant highlighting the product and releasing it a year or so earlier than planned, however a business that could use that could be from a residential dwelling or premises within a residential area not necessarily within a business or industrial precinct.

    The absolutely key differential has not been discussed and that is not a Data stream Factor, but rather a transmission factor and as such has not truly been appreciated.
    That is that with FTTN the 2.5 Gb SPECTRUM available (which can include a spectrum (wavelength) band dedicated to multicast at a reduced cost) will be decoded into discrete streams per user for Electrical transmission on pairs or encoding back to light for FTTP . Certainly some of that could be multicast, but splitting 25Mb or oven 100Mb for a multi user premises is limiting .

    However with GPON FTTP that whole 2.5Gb (or 10, or 40, or 100) is split to each subscriber and the NTU decodes their service, that 4 port NTU can decode 4 discrete separate services.
    Remember 10Gpon now available 40GPON soon and 100GPON by the time it is built.

    This may appear inconsequential at this time but so many possibilities are made possible apart from just multicast Video including high quality 4K not just low quality compressed versions, such as public service (government services), community services (within the Fan) etc etc.

    It is the capability for future evolution of services that is the differentiating factor and I am disappointed the Labor politicians fail to comprehend and sell the National Information Transmission Network, of which "Broadband" is a large COMPONENT.
    On the basis of a transmission Network the LBN starts to look shaky
    Abel Adamski
    • Video the only application requiring the

      Capacity potential of an all fibre the NBN, even then the number of realtime streams required to exceed FTTN capacity unlikely. I agree 1gbps is a distraction; not available nor will there be anywhere near enough backhaul and Internet capacity.

      Is that alone worth anywhere near the expense? I think many Australians would say no; they would have focus grouped it, it would have sank. Instead they talk about yet to be invented applications and aged care (later comically not requiring even a fraction of available bandwidth).
      Richard Flude
      • Once again

        The Home Care etc.
        The applications and services available have been designed to be provided over the lowest common denominator transmission network.
        As such they whilst covering the Vital signs under specific parameters are very far from providing a high standard of care, especially with what could be potentially provided.
        Those 4 ports you deride are actually extremely important for application development. Like smartphones and tablets, it is the first users that develop the apps that make the money.
        Consider a rsp providing exclusively Government and community services, possibly free to health care card holders, whether a Government department or contracted.
        Even if the "client" is a luddite a thin client can be provided that is simple to operate, 2 Way HD Video with cameras in selected locations triggered by a pendant etc,the iPhone has sophisted diagnostc camera apps, so easily provided with potentially thermal monitoring/assessment etc etc
        Creative imagining is the key allied with turning dreams into practical viable products rather than conservative as it was so shall it be thinking always following while someone else leads the field and rightly takes the cream for the foresight, risk and effort
        Abel Adamski
      • Video

        Is not just watching movies, it is also security and as mentioned below health care/supervision etc.
        History shows usage expands to fill capacity over time, and lack of capacity constrains innovation and development.
        Even Foxtel is hanging in waiting for higher capacity broadband which the FTTN LBN will partially provide and is an aspect of the FTTP NBN
        Abel Adamski