NBN Co has reported revenues of AU$2 million for the first year of commercial operations for the 13,536 premises connected to the National Broadband Network (NBN), ending June 30, 2012.
NBN Co began charging for services across its fibre, satellite and fixed-wireless technologies in October last year, and since then, the company has raked in AU$2 million in operational revenue, according to its annual report (PDF), released on Friday.
The company generated an operating loss of AU$520 million, with AU$220 million in employee-related expenses, AU$136 million in IT and telecommunications costs, and AU$89 million for legal and technical advice.
As of June 30, 2012, NBN Co has 1,674 workers, having added 906 since June 2011. The NBN Co board received a total of AU$9.15 million in salaries and bonuses in the last financial year, with CEO Mike Quigley receiving AU$1.9 million base salary.
The total bonuses paid out to NBN Co executives — which is awarded based on targets for a variety of factors, such as the number of premises passed and activated — was AU$642,132. Quigley opted to give up his bonus for the year.
Since the release of the report, there are now 24,000 active services on the NBN. A total of 569,000 premises have been passed, with 32,295 of these passed by the fibre roll-out.
As the government prepares to release the Mid-Year Economic Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), which is tipped to make a number of cuts in order to ensure that the budget is back in surplus by 2013, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said yesterday that he would "pause" the NBN to bring the budget back into surplus.
"If we can pause unnecessary white elephants, such as the National Broadband Network, I am confident that we can make the saving that will be needed to give the forgotten families of Australia the cost of living relief they deserve," he said.
In January, Parliamentary Library Economic Analyst Brian Dalzel said that the government treating the funding for the NBN as "off-budget", so not adding to the debt, is in line with international accounting standards. The government is expected to make a return on the NBN, so it is treated as an asset, rather than an expense.
"Money transferred to NBN Co cannot be classified as an expense under currently accepted accounting standards. It is accounted for as a financial asset on the balance sheet (an 'investment in other public sector entities'), as opposed to an expense item on the operating statement. An eventual gain or loss on the government's equity investment in NBN Co is accounted for in the operating statement as an expense, but this does not affect the fiscal balance measure."
The Coalition has argued, however, that the interest on the government's funding of the NBN through debt is on budget, and has estimated that it could amount to as much as AU$10 billion through the life of the project.