Coalition's NBN to cost almost AU$30bn

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that the Coalition's alternative to Australian Labor's National Broadband Network policy would cost almost AU$30 billion.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed that his scaled-back version of the National Broadband Network (NBN), replacing a fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) deployment with a fibre-to-the-node (FttN) network, would cost AU$29 billion to build.

Turnbull will today officially release the Coalition's broadband policy, after many weeks of speculation. As Turnbull has previously outlined, if the Coalition wins the September 14 federal election, the NBN would be scaled back, with many existing premises receiving broadband via a fibre-to-the-node network, rather than to the premises. This will rely on the Coalition being able to renegotiate the AU$11 billion deal with Telstra in order to access the copper network to install these upgrades.

According to industry publication Communications Day, a total of 22 percent of premises will be passed by fibre to the premises, and 71 percent will be passed by fibre to the node, with the last 7 percent passed by wireless and satellite services.

Telstra and Optus are expected to be able to continue to offer services via their hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) networks, and those areas covered by the networks will be a lower priority for the Coalition's NBN rollout.

The aim would be for all Australians to have access to at least 25-megabits-per-second (Mbps) download speeds by 2016, with a view to get speeds up to 100Mbps by 2019.

Turnbull told ABC's AM program on Tuesday morning that his version of the policy would be completed by 2019, and would require total funding of just under AU$30 billion. This puts it just two years ahead of the forecast completion of Labor's project. The capital required would be around AU$20 billion, which would be $17.4 billion less than the cost of the current NBN. Turnbull, however, has claimed that the current policy will be delayed by five years, and the cost will blow out up to AU$94 billion.

Turnbull said the Coalition's policy is the "world's best practice" and follows in the footsteps of what other countries, such as the US and the UK, are already implementing.

More to come.

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