Turnbull claims NBN Co funding 'gutted' in Budget

Turnbull claims NBN Co funding 'gutted' in Budget

Summary: A shift in funding in the Budget for NBN Co to match the delay in the rollout of the fibre network has been labelled as the 'gutting of NBN Co's funding' by Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.


Australia's Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has claimed that the federal government's investment in the construction of the National Broadband Network (NBN) has been "slashed" in the 2013-14 federal Budget.

As outlined in ZDNet's coverage of the Budget last night, NBN Co has shifted down the amount of funding that NBN Co will receive in the 2012-13 financial year from the original forecast of AU$5.8 billion in the Budget last year, and even further down from the AU$4.7 billion outlined in the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook, to AU$2.6 billion.

This also means that funding will be slightly lower in the 2013-14 financial year, down to AU$5.1 billion from AU$6.6 billion. However, it means that funding will step up in 2014-15, from AU$4.1 billion to AU$6.3 billion, and in 2015-16, from AU$3.6 billion to AU$5.3 billion.

Excluding the AU$4.7 billion in the 2016-17 year that was not included in the 2012-13 Budget, NBN Co will be AU$800 million shorter between 2011 and 2016.

Despite the fact that the government, if re-elected in September, has committed in the Budget to funding NBN Co for the full AU$30.4 billion that the government expects to invest in the project, Turnbull said that the shift is a "gutting of the NBN's funding" and a "clear admission that it is disastrously behind schedule".

Turnbull called on the government to outline which electoral seats "will now not get the NBN on the promised timetable".

"Julia Gillard must level with the Australian people, and provide an open and honest account of who will be affected by NBN Co's latest massive fail — a colossal shortfall in its construction rollout now recognised by the Budget cutbacks," Turnbull said in a statement.

The statement was labelled "hysterical" by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who said that people will only miss out on the NBN if the Coalition was elected to government in September.

"The only way Australians will miss out on the NBN is if the Coalition wins the next election and disconnects 9 million households from getting fibre to the home for free," he said.

"The facts are NBN Co's equity is appropriated each year and then drawn down as required. In the current financial year, equity requirements were less than anticipated, reflecting the reforecast rollout schedule."

Topic: NBN


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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  • Ho Hum

    And he was whingeing about that website. Yawn
    Renai has covered it well on Delimiter, more FUD and political posturing and B.S. He really should get Rupe to give him better lines
    Abel Adamski
  • Turnball is wrong (directly comparing to fibre installs)

    Theres no doubt the NBN is way behind schedule.

    Something must account for these massive variations from forecast ($5.8b to $2.6b). Turnbull would do better to ask the question than rant about fibre users missing (when they will under his FTTN anyway). Much like the budget vs previous one; use the figures to expose the massive waste, incompetency and continued failure to deliver.
    Richard Flude
    • Stop the waste

      Stop the waste, sqwark. Stop the waste, fluddy wants a cracker.
      • Wasteful spend, spend, spend

        Pilfer-52cec wants more of fluddy's cracker.
        Richard Flude
        • No way

          I am sure it's coated in cheese.
  • All of them

    "Turnbull called on the government to outline which electoral seats "will now not get the NBN on the promised timetable.

    If the LNP form government none of the electorates will get the NBN. They will all get some stupid obsolete system that isn't worth pissing on.
  • I'm sure Josh is working on it

    NBN Co March quarter rollout update was released yesterday.

    "...at 31 March there were 363,360 premises in the overall coverage footprint, of which 96,060 were passed with fibre."

    Yep just 24k in 3 months! Only 96k fibre connections for all the years and billions spent.

    Only 18k of those fibre connections are activated.

    With these figures their recent revised Jun target (1,260k to 341k to 190-220k ) will be hard to meet. But don't worry from NBN Co's media release :

    "NBN Co remains on course to deliver better broadband to every Australian by June 2021."

    Richard Flude
    • Why does it take near 2 months to release these updates?

      A quick calculation shows the NBN Co's 52 person media team could have each premise call them when passed (I'm sure they get a welcome pack, or Conroy in their area); 5 passed calls a day, less than 1 activation call.

      It would appear manageable, even for them.
      Richard Flude
    • Are they even keeping up with the population growth

      Projecting average household size migration alone would account for some 100k premises required each year (you thought Gillard was cutting it?).

      Perhaps the NBN Co isn't even keeping up with growth.

      2021 people, ahead on work commenced!
      Richard Flude
    • Apologies talkbackers

      Recently I've posted NBN Co were only passing a month what they forecast at peak they'd do in a day.

      With the recent update I see I was wrong. NBN Co states peak 6k a day in their FAQ; NBN Co is managing 8k a month (ROFL).
      Richard Flude
  • that

    the mantra that every premise needs a fibre connection is a major concern. Once the NBN Co roll out hits the rows of unit blocks in the major cities, the roll out schedule will fall further behind. A mix of delivery technologies is a must and I have no doubt the strategy will change come September.
    Blank Look
    • Anathema to Rupe

      The FTTP NBN Customer premises has 4 x Data Ports - so separate entertainment OTT is possible in the future, FTA, Pay TV, Sports or News, Information Channels. With a pair of copper wires that option is lost, The major threat to Foxtel and Sky Sports and News is nuetered. Competition that can build a customer base that would allow true competitive bidding for Sporting codes/events that would deliver to the customer that which is promised by competition, but the FTTN destroys that competitive pressure
      Abel Adamski
  • Liberty for liberties sake?

    I am an Australian. I don't like how communist countries have turned out. I don't like dictators and I don't like oppression. Individual liberties is extremely important and any effort to take that away should be met with quick and swift justice.

    But liberty for liberties sake is often just as foolish and reckless. In fact in many cases socialist ideas can be a great aid and extremely beneficial to a highly liberal country. Indeed our road network is a socialistic idea. As is public schooling.

    So why not our internet.

    OUR past experiences (the Australian one, not some other countries) have proven that on a national scale it is impossible to obtain quality service and widespread infrastructure through competition. Private enterprise has clearly failed, so what now? Waste money on incentives and hope that someone builds something worth paying for? Sit and wait for something to happen? Or wise up and let the government do it?

    But we can't let that happen. That is just too... Socialist.

    Well Yes.

    And it will encourage liberal lives and liberal possibilities on a more equal footing. It will allow those who previously had to pay prohibitive costs for an inferior network to try and compete with larger more wealthier companies to access a valuable resource. This will ultimately encourage your holy grail Dick. Competition.

    The question then becomes how to we do this.

    FTTP, or FTTN

    Well its simple. If we want to future proof and build a reliable network worth doing, which is better. Also simple.

    FTTP. Please find me any credible unbiased technical expert that says fttn is better in any technical aspect (technical not economical) and I will eat this laptop. I guarantee you you can't. Combine with this the future economical importance of the internet and the encouragement of COMPETITION you keep going on about that this allows and even a network that is 3 times as expensive as its next best competitor becomes alot more practical..

    Please at least think about this.